By Olimatou Coker
The National Youth Council (NYC) in partnership with United Nations Development Programme UNDP organised a two-day national youth dialogue on the ongoing reforms processes in The Gambia.
The ongoing reform processes in the Gambia are the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Constitutional Review Commission, Security Sector Reform, and the National Human Rights Commission.
The forums held over the weekend at the president’s international award and the Ebunjan Theatre respectively are meant to mobilise youth feedback on the various reforms and development mechanisms for necessary improvements as well as increase awareness, participation and ownership.
The executive director of the National Youth Council Lamin Darboe said the forum was intended to provide young people the requisite capacity and information to enhance their full participation in the ongoing reform processes and provide a platform for institutions leading the various reform processes to engage and interact with the youth on the progress, challenges and opportunities.
He added that it would also enable institutions to receive mixed bags of feedback and recommendations for improvement.
Darboe disclosed that the second phase of the dialogue would continue in the West Coast and Lower River regions respectively.
A representative from the UNDP Sulayman Marena described the forum as historic and remarkable in the promotion of youth inclusion in the country’s transitional justice mechanisms.
He stressed that the young people are highly engaged in the transformation of conflicts and peace building across the board but their efforts remain largely invisible, unrecognised and undermined due to lack of adequate participatory and inclusive mechanisms to partner with decision making bodies.
Alieu Badara Barry, coordinator at the department of youth and sports applauded UNDP for supporting the event, which he said is in line with the Ministry’s strategic priority to enhance and promote youth participation in national development.
He called on the participants to make the best use of the event and clarify pertinent issues regarding the ongoing reform mechanisms.
The event is part of the Youth Connekt Gambia initiative programmes and targeted 100 participants from various youth backgrounds.