Through the Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation (FaBB), the First Lady of The Republic of The Gambia, Her Excellency Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, has awarded scholarships to ten (10) deserving young women to pursue their undergraduate degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related fields at The University of The Gambia (UTG). The Scholarship award ceremony was held at the State House in Banjul.
In her remarks, Her Excellency Madam Bah-Barrow encouraged the awardees to be steadfast in their pursuit of knowledge and excel with flying colours.
“I will be with you throughout your educational journey. Be role models so others can be encouraged,” she motivated.
Furthermore, Madam Bah-Barrow took the opportunity to encourage two of the awardees, who are mothers, to push forward amidst the challenges posed by motherhood during an academic journey.
In his remarks, the Hon. Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez, expressed his appreciation to Her Excellency the First Lady for her relentless effort in supporting the education of women and girls in the country, especially those in the STEM fields which are priority areas for the Government of The Gambia. Moreover, the Hon. Minister advised the awardees to be firm in character and learning.
“Her Excellency sees you as agents of change, so she is investing in you. Go and conquer, address the gender imbalance, be excellent students, finish with flying colours and make her proud,” Hon. Gomez said.
The FaBB foundation is a non-profit organisation initiated by Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia to pursue her desire to bring about change, save and improve the lives of the vulnerable groups of the society throughout The Gambia. The scholarship recipients range from various STEM fields such as Architecture, Mathematics, Physics, Agricultural Science, Information Systems, Biology, Chemistry and Nursing.
Ms. Halimatou Jallow, one of the awardees and a nursing student at the University of The Gambia, shared how happy and grateful she is for the award. “I feel great! Now, I can focus on my education, knowing I will not pay my tuition fees. I want to thank Her Excellency the First Lady for the support. I will make her proud and keep up with my grades,” she said.
Ms. Lucy Gomez, a student of Architecture at UTG, indicated that the scholarship would lessen the burden on her parents. “I was very worried about my tuition fees. But now that I have the scholarship, I’m thrilled. Even though society doesn't see us worthy, the First Lady found us worthy as women and girls to support our education. For that, we are grateful,” Lucy said.
These awards will complement the Government’s policy drive in STEM fields of education and training in The Gambia.
Mahzouba Maya Faal, Information Officer, MoHERST