By Omar Bah
Hadjan Doucoure, an official of Unesco Dakar Office Senegal, who was addressing a five-day capacity building seminar for youths in Gambia, has said that The Gambia needs to go through a number of reforms that sometimes require patience after 22 years of dictatorship.
She further said the country is facing historical changes and those changes will not happen overnight and there could be much frustration, disappointments or criticisms that could sometimes lead to escalation of tensions.
The Unesco official said all these challenges can be addressed in one way or the other if there is patience from the Gambian populace, “But let me make it very clear without peace there will be no development and the lives of many people will turn into nightmare. As Nelson Mandela once said: No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin; or his background or religion. People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. Love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite,” she recalled.
The Unesco official also stressed that, if young people are given the chance, and provided the necessary skills to take the lead in their own affairs, they can help build bridges to join the gaps our fathers and forefathers have left behind.
Meanwhile, the head of UNFPA Gambia office, Mr. Kunle Adeniji, described young people as the engine of growth as they constitute the labour force of Africa
He said everything that Gambia and the world do should be centered on the young people. “The peace and development of this country is in the hands of young people,” he added.
Funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Unesco, the seminar focuses on engagement to foster global citizenship, sustainable development initiative and peace building in The Gambia.
It is part of the nation’s preparation for the launch of a truth and reconciliation commission, following human rights abuses by ex-president Yahya Jammeh.