By Samsideen Ceesay
A youth-led feminist group dubbed The Girls’ Agenda, has recently inaugurated a ‘Youth Safe Space’ for adolescents and young people at the organisation’s office in Brikama Nyambai.
The youth space is designed to create awareness on the critical issues confronting teenagers in various communities ranging from education, career counseling, mentorship and sexual reproductive health issues etc.
Speaking at the event, the coordinator, The Girls’ Agenda, Matida Komma, said youth space offers a platform for discussion on critical issues affecting striplings be it education, sexual and reproductive health issues, life skills, career counseling, mentorship and education among others.
She pointed out that however, the resource centre is not enough for them considering the population of West Coast Region and Brikama in particular.
“…But I must say you’re lucky to have such a safe space provided for you. Whilst growing up, we didn’t have such a safe space provided for us. We didn’t have a space where we can go and talk about this issue.
“If we are fortunate to be in a school club like Peer Health Education team you’re lucky. But where young people can converge and discuss about issues without the interference of anyone is something that we lacked and we thought it wise to provide it for younger generation”, she said.
Ms Fanta Jatta Sowe, women’s right specialist at ActionAid International The Gambia, said: “ Developing or providing safe space programs that address the needs of vulnerable adolescents, particularly girls is therefore a right step in the right direction”.
She applauded the Girls’ Agenda for ‘thinking outside the box’ and coming up with this innovative solution to tackle human development challenges of young people.
She added: “A safe space generally means an environment that allows participants to freely talk to each other and discuss sensitive issues that they otherwise couldn’t have talked about. A safe space also means a girl’s only space, boy’s or women’s only space that allows open talk without fear, shame or prejudice”.
For her part, Musu Bakoto Sawo, the national coordinator of Think Young Women, said mentoring was very essential in the work that they do and expressed delight that they are able to create this for their community.
Musa N.K Suso and Haddy Bittaye, second year medical students at the University of The Gambia both spoke at the event.