By Olimatou Coker
The 10th Youth Bantaba, organised by the Gambia Red Cross Society, kicked off Thursday in Siffoe Village, Kombo South.
Supported by the EU, IOM and the Youth Empowerment Project, “Bantaba” is a biannual platform where young volunteers gather to learn, share ideas and experiences and carve out ways of addressing humanitarian needs.
By the theme changing minds changing lives, this year’s Bantaba attracts several international Red Cross Societies, including from Senegal and Italy.
“The Bantaba is meant to discuss issues affecting young people and the society in line with the fundamental principles of the Red Cross movement,” Jatto Sillah the vice chairman –West Coast Region – Red Cross branch, stated.
He said the Bantaba, which started last Thursday, will also discuss dissemination of Red Cross Ideals; principles and humanitarian values; Governance; leadership and management skills; youth engagement strategy/youth behavioural change; mental health and psychological first aid; training of trainers on first aid; entrepreneurship; intensive first aid; technology and social media; community base disaster response and migration.
Organisers said the ‘Bantaba’ will also follow on regional activities and community advocacy on the consequence of irregular migration (Backway).
The goal is to have a well-informed and well trained volunteers and members of the life-saving movement on the principles and ideals of the Red Cross, provide psychosocial support, first aid, disaster preparedness and response.
Babucar Sallah, the finance officer of YEP, said YEP was there to help address economic root causes of irregular migration by supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship initiatives.
Marianna Bertelle, programme officer of the International Organisation for Migration, took the opportunity to state that the IOM was committed to the principles that “humane and orderly” migration benefits not only migrants, but societies as a whole.