By Tabora Bojang
Activist Chat the Gambia has recently begun five days school summer camp for 60 youth and children between the ages of 10 and 18.
The young people are drawn from across the west coast and the Kanifing municipality under the theme “unlock and harness the potential of young people.”
The event, underway at Bijilo, is the second edition after its maiden initiative was successfully launched in Jambanjelly as the native village of the Activist Chat founder and president, Mariama M Samba.
According to the organizers, the camp is aimed at coaching young people in various fields and topics ranging from entrepreneurship concept, child rights and safety, arts and culture, young people and modern technology, Gambian history, career guidance and counselling, and to develop their skills and build self-confidence in them.
In her speech, the founder and president of the Activist Chat Academy, Mariama M Samba said the main objective of the initiative is to foster skills and growth as well as to create on relevant stages in the early development of youths with a view to providing opportunities.
“The success of these young people depends on us, elders, environment and other stake holders, I really believe in young people and this is why I am here with you today. In their ways of life young people are at the forefront of change and innovation and many have the spirit to make things happen. They just need to be given the space to excel; I have seen it,” she said.
She also highlighted the critical need for the young people to be involved in decisions that will affect them, saying we cannot talk about sustainable development without the active involvement of youth.
“Let us take these ideas forward to harness the demographic dividend holding human rights, gender equality, human capital and dignity at the centre of all investments. It will be the young people of the Gambia who determine what the future will be,” she stated.
The programme manager of the National Youth Council Mr. Alagie Jarju urged the young participants to take the camp seriously and to transmit knowledge and skills gained to their peers and family
“Education does not stop in the four corners of the class room, it does not give you beyond 40% of what you have to learn. The rest you have to go and fetch outside the boundaries of the class room, this is one forum from where you can learn and search for the extra 60% that you are looking for in order to complete your education career,” he advised.
Activist Chat foundation is a pilot academy initiated by Mariama M Samba, a young Gambian activist in her early 20s who dedicated her life advocating for the rights of young people and children for their voices to be heard globally.