By Olimatou Coker
National Youth Council, NYC in partnership with International Organisation for Migration, IOM established information centres in three regions of the country to curb irregular migration, locally known as ‘backway’.
The centres are located in West Coast, Lower River, and Upper River Regions of the country.
The centres are to provide relevant information regarding safe migration options, job opportunities and alternatives to irregular migration.
Two full-time staff have been appointed for each centre to deliver service for young people.
The centres are equipped with laptops, giant printers, executive desks, executive chairs, projectors, air conditioners, motorbikes, cupboards and others.
The initiative was funded by EU throughl IOM.
The executive director of the NYC, Lamin Darboe, said the centres are a ‘safe space’ for young people.
“The centres are not only for stopping migration but a platform to provide accurate information that enhances choice and informed decision making by potential migrants.
“There are opportunities that we can exploit in this country and make it here. Often people migrate but later regret why they even left this country. That tells you they weren’t well informed to help them make informed decisions about why they should migrate,” he said.
Musa Suso, deputy governor, West Coast Region, said irregular migration remains “a great concern” to The Gambia.
Etienne Micallef, programme manager for IOM, said: “These centres are space for accurate information on migration. We will continue to assess how the centres operate in order to enhance and maximise its benefits.
“It’s our vision that through added creative and design work, the centers become a safe space for youth to discuss migration and that community members genuinely feel comfortable seeking information on migration,” he said.