National Youth Council, NYC, with funding from Youth Empowerment Project, YEP, recently concluded a five-day training of trainers for 25 young Gambians on guidance and counselling.
The forum which was held in Bwiam, West Coast Region, brought together ‘back-way’ returnees and participants from across the country, youth organisations and institutions.
The training, according to NYC officials, is meant to equip participants with the required knowledge on counselling and guidance.
Hundreds of Gambians have recently voluntarily returned from Libya and, according to officials, the training is expected to help the returnees have a smooth reintegration into society.
Speaking at the forum, the chairperson of West Coast Region Youth Committee Albino F Gomez, described the training as timely and symbolic.
The representative of the Gambia Immigration Department Jawara Cham said his department, being responsible for the monitoring of movement of people in and outside of the country, is very proud to be associated with such initiative.
He said irregular migration is based on mind-set as well as peer influence, “going to Europe is not the solution to be successful in life.”
The consultant of Youth Empowerment Project Kawsu Sillah said the project is a four year project funded by the European Union to be implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
He said the project is meant to address the main root cause of irregular migration in The Gambia, “since inception the project has supported many youth organisations in the country.”
The lead facilitator of the training Dawda Samba said the country need to be prepared to reintegrate these returnees from back way.
“This has been lacking over the years and young people and health workers and people who are experience in coaching and mentorship, guidance and counselling on skills and career development are not actually talking to these returnees as expected,” he added.
He said the returnees suffered great physical, emotional and social problems once they come back to the country, “most of them are from Libyan jails were they suffered tremendous abuse and other inhuman treatments.”
“I believe if we do not manage them well it will cause a lot of problem in this country in the future. It is important that we reach out to their families too,” he added.
The new chairperson National Youth Council Dembo Kambi said supporting young people is very crucial in addressing national challenges, “no challenge is bigger than that of the young people.”
He said young people are the drivers of change and without them development cannot take place, “it is against this backdrop that, the NYC is committed to work with any institution to support the development of young people.”
“The importance of sharing information especially on counselling and guidance, rehabilitate backway returnees cannot be overemphasized. The journey endured by these young people resulting into loss of lives and depriving them of a proper burial is disheartening,” he stressed.
He said there is a need for government to rightfully avail the youths their rightful position in nation building, “they should continue to strive for the collective welfare of youth skills development.”