By: Alieu Jallow
The National Youth Council (NYC) in partnership with UNFPA the Gambia is currently organising a two day National Youth retreat at the FIFA Goal Project House at old Yundum.
The two days retreat commences on Tuesday 22nd December2020, on the theme “Promoting Meaningful Engagement And Inclusion of Young People In Electoral Processes as Leaders of the Present and Future”
The Executive Director of National Youth Council, Mr. Alhagie Jarjue outlined the need for the retreat to provide a platform for the youth in their efforts to promote participation, equality, accountability and transparent service delivery.
“This initiative is aimed at proving a peer review platform for youth leaders and their respective organisations to review progress registered during the year under review, discuss challenges, suggest recommendations for improvement and collectively plan for the year ahead to better serve the young people of the Gambia” said Jarjue
Mr. Jarjue emphasised that in the absence of systemic communication and interface between youth and their structures, it will be difficult to hold each other accountable and that retreat is to create that bridge and gap to ensure effective coordination, build synergy and encourage cross sector collaboration among the youth.
Delivering on the behalf of the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Ousman Fatty, Chairman of National Youth Council said youth cannot hold their leaders accountable if they do not hold themselves accountable but acknowledged that gathering signifies the readiness to promote transparency, responsible leadership accountable on what is being done on behalf of the young people. He added that resources that are being received on the behalf young people and how it is utilized should be known and accountable.
Mr. Fatty indicated that it is vital for youth to peacefully engaged and participate engagement in all electoral and political processes. He said these two processes are key factors for democratic consolidation, peace and stability of the country.
Fatty also warned against political violence which is a threat to peace and security of the country and urged youth to desist from such as they are always the perpetuators and victims of political conflict in many African countries including the Gambia.
“This National Youth Dialogue on Electoral Reforms, cannot come at a better moment than now; we are all aware that, our country is heading towards an elections with highly competitive political environment, and therefore, the role of young people in the successful conduct of peaceful campaigning and elections remains a key cause of concerns for many Gambians particularly the younger generation today ever than before”, Fatty explained
Mr. Nfamra Jawneh, the Executive Director of ’’Bekanyang” Civil Society organisation, called for more accountable and transparent process from the National Youth Council as to how much money they are received and spent on behalf of the youth of the Gambia on yearly basis.
Mr. Jawneh said that will facilitate resource mobilisation for the registered youth organisations as they do not have the capacity to be at every corner of the country and to compliment their efforts.
The two days event brought together 65 participants drawn from regional youth committees, coordinators, regional programme officers and heads of selected National Youth organisations from across the country.