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City of Banjul
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hold our young back!

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Unemployment, poverty and irregular migration are tied together in a rather awry alliance with their confluence bringing in nothing but woes, unmarked graves and lives of deprivation in lands where one is neither welcomed nor accepted. The trend even with all these series of unfortunate events continues in an unbroken continuity. Every young person who embarks on this terrain knows of the ordeal that comes with it but embarks nonetheless. The grotesque nature of treatments meted out on these young migrants whether is in the Middle East or the Western Hemisphere makes one cringe in horror and shocked as to why someone goes to these very great lengths.

Sad thing is we all are cognizant of these stories, graphic representations and chain of events. They’re common stories around urban and rural Gambia alike. Some places have become ghost villages and settlements as far as the presence of young people is concerned.  Overtime it becomes cliché to even broach this topic of migration anywhere. But where lives are at stake and lost youth is a norm, its discussion should be forever a priority and not a marginal discourse consigned only to those who grieve and who have lost.

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But we cannot keep dwelling on the pathos of the back-way‑ a household nomenclature for that most dangerous sojourn that has claimed a lot of young lives on the Mediterranean high waters. We must seek solutions for it. We must go to great lengths in figuring ways to create sustainable communities that hold back her young. That develops them and not contributes into their breaking and running away.

For this to happen we must center the conversation of the young. They cannot just be a visible majority with their tongues tied and limbs doing a frantic dance without being heard. We must open up conversations that situate the concerns, aspirations and dreams of young people. They must be heard and not just to be listened to in an attempt as study cases or guinea pigs for another anthropological or sociological project. It must be a genuine effort on the end of all stakeholders; because parroting around slogans won’t do the work.

The government has a huge role to play in this too. Employment creation through encouraging investors and creating an enabling environment for supporting youth run businesses will go a long way. There is really no developed society if her young are underdeveloped. The president as the steward should prioritize this and make it foremost. As the cabinet converges we hope this will be from the highest points on the blueprint for the New Gambia.

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