By Olimatou Coker
ChildFund in partnership with the National Youth Council, the Regional Youth Chairpersons, the Speaker of the National Youth Parliament, NEDI among others, has recently organized a youth engagement summit. The four-day forum took place in Bwiam, Foni Kansala in the West Coast Region.
The summit aims to establish a Youth Advisory Council in The Gambia to serve as a mechanism for duty bearers and policy makers to engage directly with young people.
Nfamara Dabo, program and sponsorship director at the ChildFund, explained that they had the belief that for their programs to be relevant, authentic and responsive to the needs of young people, youth must be involved in the designing, implementation and education stages.
He said that the council would among other things engage in public outreach and advisory activities geared towards advancing the involvement of young people in nation building.
Musukuta Komma, ChildFund country director, expressed that ChildFund and its partners intended to establish a youth advisory council, an entity that would comprise young people who serve as an advisory or advocacy body to government and/or donor agencies to be led by youths.
She further stated that the council would provide them the opportunity to engage in policy advocacy and brought creative ideas to government and organizations to support their implementation for the benefit of all youth.
It would also enhance your participation in community leadership and guide you on how to learn directly from diverse youth on their experiences, needs and priorities, madam Komma said.
According to the Country Strategic Plan (CSP 2022 – 2026), Madam Komma said that ChildFund’s focus was for youth to acquire life skills and livelihood education to open employment opportunities for them and encourage their participation in development.
Hon Musa Amul Nyassi advised the youth during the summit to pay heed to great decisions when it comes to leadership and responsibilities, adding that they should select a good leader that could be part of the advisory body because that would depend on the success of the council.
“I believe that whenever you are in a position of responsibility, you are there to serve the people and not to benefit from those people”, hon. Nyassi pointed out.
He assured the youth that he and others who are in the position of responsibility in the West Coast Region would always be at their service and support them.
He emphasized that the level of education does not matter, that the real education must be seen in one’s habit; how they transformed the knowledge that they have gained and impacted it positively to the lives of the people.
Other speakers included a representative from the National Youth Council, Lamin Sanneh, Hon. Amie Colley, National Assembly Member for Foni Berefet and Eddie Bah, federation manager, Foni Ding-Ding.