By Samsideen Ceesay
The maiden edition of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Youth Day has been remembered in Gambia, with the National Youth Council leading commemorations Tuesday.
Under the theme State of Youth in the OIC Member State, the day brought together affiliated youth groups at the Friendship Hostel in Bakau.
Speaking at the commemoration event, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Adama Ngum-Njie, said youths continue to serve as a critical constituent of all development initiatives, and institutions and OIC is no exception.
“While the youth population is one of the most important strengths of OIC member states, we also have boldly acknowledged regretful current state of youth in the majority of our countries, challenged by unemployment, disconnect from traditional values, growth of violent extremism and radicalisation, marginalisation and underdevelopment,” she said.
Ngum-Njie echoed the need for “rapid response” from OIC member states to numerous challenges facing youth, “especially in today’s context where young citizens are active in the global digital world and increasingly seeking to take part in decision-making processes”.
She added: “Effective youth empowerment would not only improve life conditions of young people, but would also reinforce core values as human rights, dignity, and progress reinforcing socioeconomic growth; effectively placing youth issues as one of the main priorities of the OIC Member States.”
Yankuba Dibba, OIC rep, gave a brief overview of the body, saying “it is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN and it composes of 57 member states.
“OIC pursues its objectives through 109 goals and it has 18 key strategies which include peace building and youth development”.
Explicating the significant role of youth in the OIC, Dibba said: “We want to see the OIC as a flagship of the new Gambia”.
Dembo Kambi, NYC Chairman, said: “Having the youth sector, the youth committee and youth strength of the OIC clearly speaks volume of the importance leaders attached to our development as young people and we must at all times be ready to champion the cause, call our rights and to request for things we owned to be given to us at every sector of developmental organisation”.