By Tabora Bojang
A new national youth policy for The Gambia, 2019-2028, was validated Thursday in Kololi.
It is the fourth 10-year policy of the government to address the quest for developing and empowering youth for employability for optimal contribution to national growth and development.
The policy provides an overall national framework and sets guidelines and directions for all stakeholders involved in the implementation of policies, programs and projects for the development of young people.
This would help the youth realise their potentials and take advantage of opportunities available to make positive contributions as active participants in the national development process, according to the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Lamin Camara said the government of The Gambia has made youth development a concrete area of national priority, adding that the new policy is a manifestation of their readiness to meet needs, aspirations, and challenges of the young people in order to help transform their lives and livelihoods for good.
He said the government is aware of the human challenges faced by young people and is collaborating with development partners to use evidence-based method to supporting the creation of employment and development for youth, and offer them economic opportunities to motivate them stay and make it here in The Gambia.
The executive director of the National Youth Council, Lamin Darboe, said an urgent priority of young people in The Gambia is employment.
“The new policy would guide interventions around youth in the country for the coming ten years, and is expected to instill enhanced transformations in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, access to finance, and networking amongst the youth to access decent jobs,” he explained.
He called on young people to provide leadership and take ownership of the policy in order to hold government to account as far as youth empowerment was concerned.
The deputy permanent secretary from the trade ministry, Lamin Dampha, disclosed that 2018 Labour Indicator survey shows unprecedented rates of unemployment among youths, especially among the female folk.
“The policy seeks to establish holistic approaches and strategies that take into account challenges faced by the youth, outline appropriate goals, objectives, and instruments for enhanced youth development, and curb the menace of joblessness.”
Abdou Touray from the United Nations Development Programme, pledged the UNDP’s commitment to provide support to activities geared towards the development of young people.