By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Red Cross Society on Tuesday 15th May 2018 launched the 10th edition of its international youth “Bantaba” organized every 2 years.
This year’s forum targets over 500 young people from different walks of life across the country and beyond for a period of 10 days.
The “bantaba” to be held at Bansang Senior Secondary School in Central River Region (CRR) from 24th July to 6th August 2018 is meant to discuss issues affecting young people and the society in line with the fundamental principles of the Red Cross movement.
The theme for this year’s youth bantaba is changing mind, changing lives and will specifically be looking at youth engagement strategy, youth as behavioural change with a focus on irregular migration trends in the Gambia and beyond.
There will also be cultural display and dialogue based on societal acceptance and peace building, sports, debates and symposium, gender, child protection, and the importance of humanitarian support.
Speaking at the launch of the bantaba, Buba Darboe acting Secretary General of the Gambia Red Cross Society began by renewing their commitment to humanity as well as their purpose to protect lives and ensure respect for human beings under the principles of impartiality.
He added that at Red Cross they do not discriminate as to the nationality, race, religion, belief, class or political opinion of people, noting that the Gambia Red Cross Society has been in the centre stage in collaboration with partners in giving assistance to returnees from Libya.
He called on valuable partners, business community, private sector, UN Agencies and individuals to support the initiative.
Dawda Samba, head of technical working group for the bantaba described the forum as a policy and strategic requirement for the Gambia Red Cross Society to implement for young people.
He pointed out that the sub-region is very vulnerable to either epidemics or pandemics because of crises such as political, wars, poverty, floods and as such Red Cross is always present when these crises occur.
He described their volunteers as the backbone of society, adding that they want to make sure they change their minds to be able to use that behavior and influence the lives of others.
Mr Samba said seven (7) topics will be treated within the 10 days of the bantaba.
According to him, they have a lot to learn from and share with other countries and have sent invitations to 20 sister international organisations.
He called on parents to allow their children participate in the bantaba.