Thursday, 18 April 2013

Welcome back to yet another edition of the Encounter, a column that profiles people’s achievement and experiences. In today’s editions of the Encounter we bring you a chat with an experience journalist who have spend 18years as a broadcaster at the National Radio (GRTS).  So read to find out who she might be…
Can you please introduce yourself to our dear readers?
H.B- my name is Haddy Badjie know as Chepeh Badjie born in Banjul. I am working at the Gambia Radio and Television Services and now I am the Managing editor. I stay at Pipeline.
Tell us about your educational background?
H.B- well, I start my primary education at Albion Primary School then proceeded to Muslim High School in 1987 to 1992 where I got my O’ levels later went to Gambia High School in 1992 to 1994 where I did my A’ levels from there that was in 1994 immediately after my A’ levels I join the Gambia Radio and Television Services as an announcer and I rose through the ranks. In 1995 join the St Mary’s University through the extension programme and had my Bachelors (BA) degree in English language. I also did a lot of trainings and short courses at Cairo institute of Mass Com in 2000, also in Malaysia later did my advance professional certificate in 2004.
Tell us about your relationship status.
H.B- yes I am happily married and blessed with two beautiful children. Ida and Omar
Tell us when you were young who was your mentor?
H.B- I will say it is my father because I think many people in Gambia here when you talk about the late Kama Badjie what goes to once mind is education, he had contributed a lot today in the education of the country. For me I have no other mentor than my father, he was such a wonderful man with a good characteristic, qualities which I wishes to have, he was a patriotic citizen that love his country.
When was your biggest achievement?
H.B- that is very hard to say but only thing I will single out is that though am striving still to get my masters degree I will say it is when I got my bachelor degree because all a long it was my dream to stay law at “Fobay college I had acceptance but then things where wrong somewhere, so I decided to enroll at the University extension program through St Mary’s University like I do tell people am very proud to be among the pioneers of the University of the Gambia. My biggest achievement I will say will be when I got my bachelor degree.
What motivated you to become a journalist?
H.B well, for me it was purely by accident as I explain early. It has never been my intension to do journalism or been on the four corners of a studio reading news or writing news items. It came by accident because from the six forms straight to the news room which was an opportunity which I myself to be honestly don’t know where it came from definitely I have never wanted to stay in the profession but I have been there for 18years now so am in love with the profession now and there is no way of going back.
Can you please tell us about your job experiences?
H.B- well, I started broadcasting in 1995, as an announcer later promoted to Assistant producers then senior producer, principal producers and now managing editor. So my work basically apart from news presentation it takes a lot of editing because I did edit the news at the radio from Mondays to Fridays even on public holidays I do go to work. Yes I only spend my work at radio Gambia but do have contracts when others want documentary they call me into to do the voicing. I have never worked at any other radio apart from Radio Gambia. Yes, its true that other radio like Sud F.M when they started operating  their  managing director at that time Sulayman Mboom call my attention to join his radio but because of my father been very strick I just could not make a decision but to ask him go see with my dad and talk to him wheather he will approve my going to Sud F.M because at that time I value my father’s advice very much whatever he does was for my own very interest so when Mr Mboom ad the decease Mr Jack Njie came to my father and he said no I should stay with the national broadcaster until something came up and than I agree whole heartedly knowing very well that any decision that my father would make is for my own good and I have not regret it.
What are some of the challenges you have succeed in life?
H.B – it is a difficult question but then I want to say a major challenge that which I encounter is out of my family. When I say my family that means my children because they mean the world to me, so when I had my last born that is Omar in 2010 but you know he was injured during birth he had what is call breaking palsy he couldn’t move his hand and couldn’t do anything with his right hand . I consider that as a challenge but as a mother you know there is no way of going back he has no other person more than me we have gone to other countries for treatment but still it has not help but hopefully can over come it. I am very careful when ever I come across challenges.
Does your child welfare affect your work?
H.B yes it does, I do have problems of course with my work. I remember a day whne I want to work and left him there he got bond that too brought problems for me at work, I do face a lot of challenges when it comes to my family and work but I will always say these I feel I don’t own obligation to anybody more than my family for me, my family always come first they second to none they just number for a reason.
You were born on same day with people but today you more successful what is the secret?
H.B it hard work, determination but I believe it all came from God for me I fell like I have not achieve anything yet because it is also among my dreams to try and have my master even if possible PHD.
It is difficult for people to answer this question on my encounters, if I may ask madam how old are you?
H.B hahahatai I am forty years old.
Your proudest moment?
H.B- I feel proud when I get feed back from people after reading the news at the Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS) I feel very proud because I know people appreciates my services and for me even if I have to fail a single news item which is less than a minute I do receive a lot of feedback from the public so it is like my services are been appreciate for me despite the challenge I faced at work the public been out there appreciating my service gives me more vigor  to concentrate on my career as a journalist and also a news presenter.
How do you feel when young people look upon you as a mentor?
H.B- I will always feel proud but what I always tell children especially young stars I will tell them to be educated because it is very important and it give empowerment with education and Allah’s guides one will achieve his or her dreams. Well I feel very proud honor and happy.
Tell us your happiest moment?
H.B- my happiest moment was when my son was born Omar because I was in need of a boy child and I am very proud of him.
Can you explain how did you join GRTS?
H.B – it was my friends who saw the advert on the newspapers and they contacted me. It was three of my friends, we all applied but I succeeded so for me been in the media has opened a lot of doors for me because it has enabled me to travel far and near in such places like United Stats, Egypt, Ghana and a lot it is a big surprise for me been in the media always wanted to be a lawyer but here I am 18years on am still a broadcaster.
18years is not 18days how will your describe the journey
H.B- well, I has not been a very easy will say because you do faces a lot of ups and down at times things are very bright and sometimes very dark. I had it roof but at times very smooth.
You did mention joining the radio just after high school how was it like between you and your parents?
H.B- my parents were very supportive because my dad when it comes to national duties its always a priority my parents never complain with the lateness
Tell us your hobbies?
H.B- basically I like watching news channels, love to cook and spend time with my family.
Final words
H.B- just having to thank you for the interview and encourage you to keep up the momentum.
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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

By Fatou Samba
 Welcome back to another edition of the Encounter, a column where different people are accorded the platform to share experiences and achievements. In today’s edition we bring a chat with a renounce Gambian Business man who has got the experience in the field for quite so long. As the proverb goes experience is the best teacher, so read to find out more.
Info, Sir please introduces your self to our dear readers.
Mr Drammeh-my name is Bai Mattar Drammeh , I am a private sector operator and also the former president of the Gambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the current president of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and industries and I am currently doing insurance am also the current the major shareholder of GNIC, I am the proprietor of OMAKAN Hotel in Sukuta. I just clock 67 on the 19 of December believe it or not,,
Info, Tell us about your educational background.
Mr Drammeh-well beside going to St Augustine here in the Gambia and St Thereses  Methodist in Kanifing, I proceeded to the USA after completing University education from St Joseph,s University in Philadelphia  Pennsylvania where I did my degree in veteran  and after degree I realize that I was not meant to be a doctor but a business person. I later move to George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia.
Info-What is the secret behind your success in Business because a lot of people know you in the field.
Mr Drammeh - I believed that there are certain characters that which one has to have such as quit for word, committed, royal, truthful and must have a target or a goal which you can visualize and go into after it without detraction and once you do that you gain trust which will take a long time but you will gain a name if you truthful to everyone and you have to respect people for who they are and what they are but must importantly you have to be at all times which I believe people must be convince so that they can trust you which I think right now it hidden away because now we have people who want to make quick money and forget the most important thing which is trustworthy. So this is part of some of the characters which one should have and be constant with them not today you like this, tomorrow you change which is not good. If people trust you business then business will come to you and people make you who you are and don’t try to make fast move, quick move, don’t try to get over on people and say what you can and do what you can, which are very important things which people tend forget and in the end people start moving away from you because you are not who you said you are and you are not doing what you say you will do and people are not getting what they accepted to get from you  then that’s a sign of failure because you will optimally go down.
Info- Can we know some of your biggest achievements.
Mr. Drammeh- I think my biggest achievement actually is the value I give to charity because all the time I be a member of Rotary Club of Banjul which is all about charity and I was once the president of the club and member of the Jammeh Foundation For Peace which involved in charity. So to me charity work is something which is very dear to me and I take it seriously because it allowed me to participate in giving out money without been know, helping student go to school without been know, it allow you to do what you want to do in secret being anomalous about it is you don’t want the thank you but you do it because you just wanted to do it. Secondly family matters which I really value and always with them all the times share everything with them. I am also the founder and owner of the Omakan Hotel In Sukuta which was opened in February 18th 2007 and I am the first executive chairman of the Gambia National Insurance Company which I help bring out of insolvency to a profit making institution and a viable enterprise in the year 1996, in 1992 founded 3D consulting services representing international corporations and personalities seeking investments ideas and opportunities and in 1989 April 4th founded the Great Alliance Insurance Company Limited both as a shareholder and the first managing director. I am also a member of board of Directors in many companies such as Life Trustee, Business Training Center, Jammeh Foundation for Peace, The Observer Company , Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency, The West African International School, National Council of Arts and Culture, Chairman of Access Bank, Ambassador of International Insurance Society and regional director, member of the council University of The Gambia and former president of the Gambia Chambers of Commerce and industry and the current president of the federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry.  My talents lies in creating business by putting the structures together and has someone else run it then I will walk away because that is were am full fit the most.
Info-when was your happiest moment in life.
Mr. Drammeh- yes yes yes….you know when don’t have much and you accepted it in good faith then you spend a lot of time praying to god to help you. The biggest thing that happens to me which I did pray to god was that he gives me the ability and the capital to spent my mum and dad together to the holy city Mecca and that time I have a uncle who was spending people to Mecca but I used to pray to god that my uncle don’t see my parent and god did give me the opportunity to spend my parent to Mecca myself. My dad said to me son everything I ever prayed from god he have giving me accept one thing, is what you now giving me and I have the feeling that the one thing my dad wanted and I was able to do it for him which I cannot compare with anything.  The second one was that I was just traveling to Dakar on the ferry and my phone rings which was the call of the protocol offices at state house and he informed me that he get a good news for me the president want to do his pilgrimage and he wanted to go with you which makes me so surprise because I was in the water traveling just around Barra and I get a better news that I should turn around and come back to give them my passport so that I will  be able to accompany the president which was in 2006, it was also a very happy day in my life because if someone take you to Mecca whether you can afforded  or not that person was willing for you to accompany him that is special, being with the president you treated like a very important person all because of the president so you get accorded all good things treated like a VIP  all over its not like the regular and normal hajji where you will be on your own which is totally different which I compare to the 2003 which I when to is different with that one with the president this one am treated lie a king. So it was a fantast experience.
Info- of course their lot of people the president could have moved with but you were part of those he choose to move with to Mecca. How did you felt? 
Mr. Drammeh- well I wonder why me because obviously their many Gambian and the president could have called anybody else but they call me. I wondered why but only the president knew why and I felt so good and special because when we have 1.5 to 2 million people choose from and I think it was four of us. It was a state of mind that gives you scene of been special and rewarding which makes me committee myself with actions and attitude to the welfare of the nation. This was a very important event in my life and in my office, at work you will see the picture am with the president, myself, Ardy  Sarge. 
Info- how did you start business.
Mr. Drammeh-  I work for some companies in US before i left simply because wanted to work for myself and I need some experiences. I once said to myself if I am employ by a man born of a woman, I am a man born of a woman too, so I need to be creative and I need to start my own business employing people rather than been someone who is been employed. It was clear that my goal was to worked for myself. I worked for people because I was there to learn the ropes and the tricks of the trade and the pitfalls of the trade.  Of cause you go to university learn all about this but its different from the practical Alana totally different from the book, you need to know when to be careful, when to take a risk and when to be neutral and do noting, so those were very important issues in my life and when those happens I pray to god again to please give me the opportunity to start something and the first opportunity was to start Great Alliance which we started four of us and I was the managing director  I put the structure in place. Secondly when we brought GNIC I move from Great Alliance to GNIC to oversee our investments there and I need to find out there was one big reliability which GNIC had they need to be pay, so that took the company down and my first task was to bring the company back up were it will make profit and god helped us to do that which was a challenge I enjoy encountering and it gives me a better person. Later I realized that the water in Banjul and also the coastal region was been eroded so I approached some consultant in Nederland to be among those that help in taking care of the coast and fortunately I was representing a company that were awarded the contract to do the studies and ultimately we recommended the company that did the sand replenishment so I was involve in the saving of the city by stopping the rapid erosion by bring the beach back and upon it encouraging tourism visitor in the beach, it gives me great satisfaction that now I can go behind the Atlantic Hotel because their a great beach on the road by the cemetery in Banjul now that is fantastic which I think is a way to contribute to the development of once nation for the benefit of the citizen. I work in so many places like Gambian Customs, in US I worked in a wholesale book company, after university I work in a shop were I supply men, children, ladies wear I had a lot of moments because I did well and it earned me with a lot of awards.
Info- Sir a lot of people knew you through GCCI tell us about it.
Mr. Drammeh-GCCI started maybe seven ago longer but seven year is the high light point when I just when to an AGM not know that by the time I left the AGM I will be come the first vice president and when I was nominated I was like no because I was not running for any post but the people who were there insisted that I should vice president and after six year I was elected in 2006 as president of the Gambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry. After been elected I had two goals to full fit such that the GCCI has an head office because we were renting for 45 year  and am sure that all president wanted that but gives me the opportunity to me in finding contract, partners all of us put resources together and built the new office in “Begilow”  we apply to government and they give us land so we were able to put the structures in place, I Had an office there which I deliberately did not use because I knew I was finishing up and that was on of my goals that we have an office on our own with better and more quality membership this where the two things I wanted to do and now all body is interested with GCCI it turns out at the last AGM which we never had before everybody came to the AGM. It was a good thing that awareness was created and I wanted people to be aware of GCCI which is an important organization and I was appointed president of West Africa chambers of commerce and industry which is a position that which you run for two years while am running that now my goal is to have a sea link to link all the seas in country to sea so that we can trade to each other. So that our African women like to accompany goods will be going to join the vest to their own destination and buy flesh good bring home still accompany their goods. I will Insallah like to have this done before I finish there too, I am praying to have a sea link set up that will link all the countries to Cameroon and backup to Senegal also fighting to have the head quarters in the Gambia 
Info- Sir you grow up with some on same month, year but today you have been know more than them why.
Mr. Drammeh- well I feel great that I was able do that and I feel grateful to god also for enabling to do that and I must say I followed advices. Yes god we have not seeing but seeing our parents and I follow their advice god has not show us his self physical but he has show us through our parents side. I think what helped me was that I was so close to my parents and so concern about their welfare always make them happy to me that is the key. One must not forget were you come from if you treat you parents nice it means you treating go nice and if you ignore them you ignoring god. I think it all started with my attitude towards my parent.
Info- When you were young who your mentor was.
Mr. Drammeh- my mentor was mother Madeline and mother Anna who was the head of the school in St Therese’s a catholic none.  Both of these two took real interest in me and were pleased with me, after school I used to go to them and do my studies every Sunday will go with mother Madeline to Royal Victoria Hopital and buy goods for the sick people myself and Ida Jallow will go to the hospital and giving out. She teaches me how to care, share with people which has telling me that we live in a society were we must be aware of each other. I heard that she is now retrial and I always wish to go see her for the last time or if dead go to her grave just pay my rest to mother Madeline because she was such an important person in my early days.
Info- Sir you did mention early that you wanted do be a doctor but now doing business why
Mr. Drammeh-  you see when I was going to the US to study, I said to my mother am going to be a doctor but my mum said to me son you meant to be a doctor but I insisted. So I when started fight very hard to be admitted for the four years in the premet school before going to the medicine school for another four year then you will be done to be a doctor. In my first four year I encounter things I did not like such as piglet, fork, cat take it home at night dead cat put it on the table to study follow up at the veins and all the structure of physical being, you will smile it through out my apartment as a student and you will kill forks then do a lot of things in the process which I didn’t like dealing with dead animals.  On top of all we want the hospital once to look at the dead people then I started vomiting I just could not continue with this one is not working out. After getting my premetry degree then I was suppose to apply to a medical school but instead I apply to a business school which I realize is my field. We all have god giving talents but you have to discover your talent early not your intelligence, if you if you follow your intelligence you will be going the wrong thing because I followed my intelligence I knew I was very good in Biology and other science subject but not my god giving talents. If one follows his god giving talent you will be happy and successful, my mother used to tell me when your dad was out if we were to cook and ask me to kill a chicken I will not kill but rather go out side call my friends do it for me so how can I say I can be a doctor, so that was how I change from being a doctor to a businessman and my father was also a businessman I should have followed his footsteps. Am always glad if someone can fine who they are before they embark, do what makes you happy and when you it that makes you who you are.

Info- sir your unique personality makes young people to regard you as a mentor, how did you feel.
Mr. Drammeh-  well I feel rewarded by that because I think everyone you like to be in such a situation were you appreciated and young people looking up to me It means the world to me. I will say I have full fit my task, you see when you live in a society were nobody know about you, who you are that is a very sad but if you find out people recognize you have to thank god.
 Info- what is the meaning of Omakan giving to your Hotel as a name?
Mr. Drammeh-  I named my hotel in Sukuta as Omakan because I love my parents and I named it after them my father’s full name is Omar so I remove the R and my mother’s name is Kani,  I also remove the I. so if you put them in words you have my parents names .it was also opened in February 18th 2007
Info- what advice do you have for young people.
Mr. Drammeh-  my advice first I think is discipline which is number one because my dad say and touch my ear not only hold but touch and say son your ear is more important than your mouth. He always insisted that I listening to him and he told me in listening you learning, its important for young people to acquire and let them have goal setting let them stop the ghetto as I always say to my boss in the US because the ghetto is not good it brings you down make you poorer and the head of the ghetto will be rich ghetto is not the place for future leaders.  Young people must learn to be discipline and learn to save for every dalasi that comes through your hand 20% must be save not for wedding, funeral, naming ceremonies etc but for you sweat because tomorrow your children will ask you dad and mum when you were young what were you do during your youthful days, when you are pay you pay your self first and what you save will be your capital and you will be able to invest so that tomorrow you can show. You will be surprise when you save and people will respect you.
Info- sir its pleasant been with you on the encounter your final words.
Mr. Drammeh- thanks for the interest that you have express to have an interview with me because its an honor and wish you and your paper a great success information is power and your column is empowering people and its very important it is making us all grow.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

In today’s edition of Encounter, a weekly column that is dedicated to people who are considered important personalities in the society and who in one way or the other are contributing something positive towards the advancement of society, we bring you a chat with a Gambian dentist running a private clinic at Cape Point in Bakau to share his experiences and achievement. Dentist Baboucarr Njai holds a BSc degree from Gothenburg University in Sweden
So read on to find out who Dentist Njie is:

G-Now- Can you introduce yourself to our wonderful readers?
BN- My name is Baboucarr Njai. I was born in Banjul but now live in Bakau. I am a Dental Surgeon and studied in Sweden. Currently, I am in The Gambia operating a private clinic called Njie and Njai medical and dental services - I have another colleague who runs the medical clinic.
GN- Can you tell us about your educational background.
BN- I started schooling at the age of five at Muhammadan Primary School, and then progressed to Crab Island School.  Going to high school was very though at the time because there weren’t many high schools like now. After leaving secondary school, I started working at the accounts unit of the Public Works Department for between seven to eight years and then left for Europe (Sweden). By then, it was not easy to leave the country - I personally sponsored my trip not by air because it was too expensive to travel by air, I travelled over land through Dakar to Paris and then to Stockholm.
I have always been interested in dentistry so before leaving for Sweden, I had an opportunity to go to the United States but then a very close friend of mine, Mr. Batch Faye convinced me to go to Sweden and he arranged a school for me where I was offered scholarship.  I remember one night, conservation I had with Mr. Faye and Doctor Adama Sallah and they asked me what course I wanted to pursue and I said dentistry, they both looked at me and said do you know what you are saying? I replied yes, that is what I want to do and they said to me, you came from Crab Island School and you don’t know anything about physics, chemistry, biology and many other science subjects and I told them that these are subjects which I can learn like any other person can, so since I am not going to pay any tuition, I will learn because that is the biggest opportunity I have ever had.
Actually I was thinking by myself that this will never be possible but at the same time with devotion, determination I think I can make it. I started schooling from scratch because you have to learn the language first. After completing my secondary education, I went to Gothenburg University in Sweden where I obtained my BSc and DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery).  
GN- When did you start this private business?
BN- I started in 2000.  Although I am not working for government, I, from time to time offer community services - helping at the hospital whenever they need my services.
GN- Why the name Njie and Njai?
BN- well my colleague is called Malick Njie and I am Baboucarr Njai but the way we spell our surnames are different so we decided to use it as the name of the clinic. The Njie and Njai clinic is a joint business between the two of us - Malick is a medical doctor.
GN- What is the secret behind your success?
BN- Well determination and the will power to do something - one has to plan his or her life and if you are aiming for something positive, you must be determined. I will not say I am successful but the secret is just determination that has made me to be what I am today.
GN- What are some of the challenges you faced in your personal life and how did you overcome them?
BN- First of all was the educational part - I knew I was able to do certain things if given the opportunity.  Another challenge was having limited resources because I came from a large family and resources are always a problem. I had the passion at a very young age to become a future dentist and I knew very well from the beginning that I have to do my best to fulfill that dream. I believed that being a dentist is not something that happens by probability; I really worked hard for it.  
GN- What was your biggest achievement?
 BN- Wow, when I became dentist in 1992; it took me a very long journey to reach that point because of my educational standard - I had to struggle hard with the science subjects which I had never studied before. However, I thank God that when I was in Sweden, I was able to take up a part time job as a teacher which was though for me.
GN- when was your happiest moment?
BN- My happiest moment? (Laughs) That was when I got married in 2005 - I was very happy because it has ever been my dream to get marry to a Gambian wife whenever I return. It is always a problem when you get married out of your country you want to come back home to settle and the wife doesn’t like it. I am blessed with one boy and two girls who are twins.
 GN- When you were young, who was your mentor?
BN- I looked at my childhood friends who succeeded in achieving their goals and are all well established – I will not mention names but if any of them reads this article, they know exactly what I’m talking about. Even though a few of us did not have the opportunity to be like them, nonetheless, we were always together - helping each other and even some of us were helped to travel to Europe through the assistance of friends.
GN- How do you feel when young people regard you as their mentor?
 BN- I feel well honored, happy and grateful. I know one Dr. Peter who used to come to the clinic and we had a chat about my career - what I have gone through – and he told me that people like you should write books because most people think that if you go to schools like Crab Island, it is practically impossible for you to be successful especially academically. You can be successful doing your own business and most probably you don’t need to obtain degree. However, there are certain professions like dentistry, whereby without obtaining good education, you cannot be a dentist. 
 GN- what advice do you have for young people who want to excel in life like you.
BN- I will tell them to keep on reading, study hard - to become a dentist one has to work for it now. It takes time to be a dentist, seven good years is not seven days.  Let them be determined and learn more.
GN- Sir you did mention working in Sweden as a dentist but why are you back to The Gambia when you are paid more money in Sweden?
BN- Yes very interesting question - after my graduation in Sweden, one evening I received a call from Norway telling me that they want to offer me a job and they are interested in me. I replied to them that I never applied for a job but he said yes, we know but we got your contract number from another person who has recommending you. I told them that far north in Norway is cold and far but I’ll think whether I can only give you six months service. The caller replied okay and I went to work in Norway for six months and at the end of the six months, they asked me to extend for another six month which I did.
After that, I planned to return to Sweden but they said no and offered me the position of a clinic chief and that I can also use the clinic for my private practice even though it was government-owned although I had to promise not to compete with them, which I did. After some time, I decided to leave but another big offer came - they said I should head and take care of all the district state clinics which I accepted. In 1999, I came home for holidays to see my parents who were getting old. I decided that I don’t want to stay there any longer after spending nearly thirty years away, I would not want to be called and informed that something happened to either of my parents. So I said I have to return home and settle finally and setup my own private clinic. When I was leaving, I was given a document which stated that whenever I want to go back, I am free to do so and upon presenting the  document I will be given the same grade were I was when I left or something higher.
GN- How do you feel working for your own country?
BN- I think one owes an obligation to his or her country; it those not matter what happens but every citizen has to contribute to his countries development.
GN- As a dentist, what advices do you have for the general public?
BN- It’s about time parents consider what their children eat and avoid sugar, especially sweets. We the dentists are having big problems and when parents come with their children they, will complain that their children like eating sweets but my question is, where is that child getting the money from to buy sweets - is it not from the parents? So it is left to the parents to train their children and not buy them sweets. Secondly oral hygiene, meaning clearing the teeth daily is very important. 
GN- It was very interesting having interviewed you and thank you so much for your time, final words.
BN- It was my pleasure and my final words are let’s support each other and work hard because the country belong to all of us.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Welcome back to yet another edition of the Encounter, a column that profiles people’s experiences and achievements. In this edition of the Encounter we bring you a chat with the Director of Corporate Services at the Gambia Competition Commission.  So read to find out who this gentle man is.
GN - Sir can you please introduce yourself to our dear readers?
ABJ - My name is Alhagie Babucarr Jabang.  I am currently working at the Gambia Competition Commission as the Director of Corporate Services.  I was born in Brikama in the West Coast Region and was brought up at Serrekunda. I was later taken to Sierra Leone to join my father where he was engaged in business. Seven years later, we returned to Gambia and I started my schooling. My mother was a house wife and my father a tailor, so I grew up under moderate conditions where everyone was expected to contribute towards the family’s upkeep.  I am married and blessed with children.
GN- Can you please elaborate on your educational background?
ABJ - Upon my return from Sierra Leon in 1974, I was sent to Sukuta Primary School.   After completing my primary education in 1980, I got entry to Armitage High School in Georgetown, present day Janjang Bureh in the Central River Region where I sat to the GCE ‘O’ Level Certificate Examination in 1985.   I sat to a teacher’s examination at Action-Aid The Gambia and  obtained very good results and was later employed by the organization as a teacher at Gifarong village in Kiang West District.   I taught for two years as a class teacher and was later promoted to head the school.  During that period, I was able to transform the school and I am proud to say that today, I have a lot of my students who are holding very good positions in Government and NGOs and some of them are even married.
When I left the teaching field in 1989, I joined the Customs and Excise as a young officer. I spent 18 years working at the Customs and Excise.  I came to realize that having only “O” Levels will not offer me a good career, I decided to build my capacity and proceeded to further my education. Today, I am a Chartered Accountant and since 2008, I have been a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. I have more than ten years’ experience in accounting administration, Human Resources Management and Information Technology. I have also served more than five years at senior level within the central government and public institutions as well as more than 25 years as a social worker - travelling and implementing development projects in urban as well as rural areas.  I have also successfully participated in community driven projects implemented through a World Bank funding as Financial Controller and was at one time the Technical Adviser to the West Coast Region Local Government Authority where I coordinated audits at corporate and institutional levels as well as  prepare audit packs submitted to external auditors prior to commencement of audit exercises.
I also have a very strong background and competency-based human resource management from the ITCILO in Turin, Italy where I served in different senior management positions as financial management specialist, head of accounts and other corporate services units. I also pursued courses in the United Kingdom in a college called London College of Accountancy and am still pursuing a Professional Career Development and Research in Current Accounting issues
GN- Who was your mentor when you were young?
ABJ - My mentor was a childhood friend and a class mate. We went to school together from primary one to form five and his name is Abdoulie Barry. Mr Barry was so intelligent and anytime we sat to class exams, either I or he will come out first. I knew that if I used Abdoulie as my mentor, I will surely succeed. Mr Barry was very lucky to have had continuous education because when we graduated from Armitage, I went into the teaching field but he proceeded to Gambia High School to attend sixth form.  I was late to enroll for sixth form because I started teaching even before the “O” Level results were out. After completing his sixth form, Barry went to the UK and he was among the first Gambians to obtain ACCA. He was one time head of Finance & Procurement at MRC Gambia and now he has an international appointment.  Also, I decided to choose Barry as my mentor because he was my competitor in school and he advised me to stop everything I was doing and concentrate on how to further my education which I actually did and he contributed a lot towards financing my education.   I can safely say today that whatever I have achieved, he has contributed to it.
GN - Tell us about your achievements
ABJ - One of my biggest achievement was being employed as a teacher because I always imagined if I could be a good teacher; and it turned out that I was a good teacher. I also made other achievements in terms of my education which I never thought of before. I’ve got a lots of certificates - in 1990, I attended Crown Agents Induction Certificate on Customs & Excise/Security, from 2000 to 2001, I Completed ACCA Accounting Technician, and in 2002 ADF Capacity Building Project - Certificates in Project Management & Accounting, Aid & Debt Management, in 2007 I had EPICOR Based Training (version 7.3.5) in Integrated Financial Management Information System (End User and Financial Applications Administrator) on the following Modules: Concept of Information Technology using a computer and managing file Spreadsheet Financial Accounting, using EPICOR computerized accounting System Active Planner- Budgeting and Planning Tools (Computerized).  I also sat to WAIFEM online exams on Domestic Debt Management and did an End user Training on TOMPRO Computerized Accounting Software, (World Bank Customized Reports). I also have a certificate in Specialized Report Writing Skills and Presentation Techniques, Certificate in Public Financial Management, Budgeting, Planning   and Performance, certificate in Implementing Competency Based Human Resource Management: Job description, Recruitment & Selection,   Performance Appraisal and Certification.
GN - Can you please share with us some of your job experiences.
ABJ - In 1985 to 2006 I worked as Customs Office and later in 2006, I moved to Gambia Revenue Authority as a Financial Application & Systems Administrator up to 2007.  I later worked for an ADB/World Bank-funded project as a Financial Comptroller for the Community Driven Development Project in 2008. I also employed as the Manager/Acting Director Finance and Administration-Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency, a World Bank Funded Gateway Project from 2009 to July 2010 and from 2010 to date, I’ve been working for The Gambia Competition Commission as Director of Corporate Services.
GN - Could you share with us your happiest moment in life
ABJ - One of my happiest moment was when I got another level of education higher from my ‘O’ levels certificate. Another happy moment was in December 2008 when I received a professional certificate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK which meant I could apply for ACCA and eventually became a member on June 30, 2009 after completing the Professional Exams Levels I, II & III from 2001- Dec. 2008.
GN- What are some of the challenges you have faced in life?
ABJ - I had problems in financing my education but I was fortunate to have good friends and good relatives and with a lot of sacrifice, I was able to support my education. I have to thank my family, especially my wife and children for their understanding. I usually spent a lot time reading attending classes but nonetheless, they all understood that I was doing was for my success. 
GN - Any secret to your success?
ABJ - I just have to thank God giving me the strength to overcome challenges and live up to expectation.  The secret is that I always that maintain high level of honesty, seriousness.  I had no time for parties and I always take things seriously which has made me who I am today.
GN - You don’t mind telling us your age sir?

ABJ - I will surprise you because when I meet with a lot of people and tell them I am 45 years old, they look at me and say that is not possible. Some say I look younger than my age and ask me to tell them the secret behind it.   I always tell them that it’s a gift from God although I exercise a lot, watch my diet as well as eat healthy food.
GN - When was your proudest moment in life?
Mr. Jabang - That’s a very important question; my proudest moment was the day I started to work and supporting my family. I am proud of that because at a very young age, I had a lot of responsibility.   After working for two years, I asked my father to stop work and I became fully responsible for the upkeep of the family – From that time to date, God has supported me to take care of my entire family. The other proud moment was the day I got married and got my first daughter who is presently in the UK.
GN - How did you feel when you were appointed as Director of Corporate Services?
ABJ - It is a challenge. I have always wanted to rise to a very high level. I have been eyeing such position although you cannot get them without the necessary qualification. I have tried hard to build my capacity and that has given me the opportunity to achieve such a position.  I feel happy because I think that I deserve it. This position is not something that came my way but is something I did worked for; I sacrificed a lot for my education. I took my job seriously because I believe that are many other people who want it, and I was lucky to have it so I must live up to expectation.
GN - What are your hobbies?
ABJ - My hobbies include reading. I will encourage the young ones to spend a lot of time reading. If you read you learn a lot and that’s why I cherish reading. I also like to exercise and chat with my family.
GN - What advice do you have for young people who want to excel in life like you?
ABJ – Actually, we live in this generation that is full of distractions.  I’ll advise young people to make sacrifices and put their education above everything else. Let them avoid going to nightclubs and social activities.  They should be friends with their books and pens because this can contribute in transforming them to be successful tomorrow. With the advent of the University of the Gambia, there will be more people graduating and in the near future, getting employment will be very difficult. There will come a time when people will go in for the best and if anybody wants to be part of the best of the best, they should start building the foundation now in terms of education.
GN – Your final words
ABJ - I will conclude by appealing to young people to listen to the advice of their parents.  Their generation is full of challenges so let them take their education seriously.  Fatou, to be honest this column is very interesting and I believe young people will learn from inspiring people, role models so I will like to say thanks to all staff of The Gambia Now.
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