By Binta Fatty
The National Youth Parliament in partnership with Beakanyang together with others like Think Young Women and ACTIVISTA on Friday held a forum on the findings of a survey on human rights, youth and women participation in governance and other issues at a ceremony held at the NYC innovative youth lab in Kanifing.
It’s is remembered that in 2021, the aforementioned organization with support from the UNDP — The Gambia, through the UN peacebuilding Fund, embarked on a survey to collect data to assist in the development of policy briefs and fact sheets on youth unemployment, human rights, women’s participation in governance as well as access to natural resources, which can be used to improve these challenges.
Speaking, Sannaba Jowla, the Senior Program Officer, said the findings revealed that the political participation of women and youth was higher in the presidential election by 74.8% than in parliamentary and local government elections. “The most negligible voting among women and youth happens under local government elections by 44.1%. Moreover, about 26% of women and youth reported that they have never voted in any elections,” he added.
“The study recommended more civic engagement by civil society organizations, the National Council for Civic Education and other stakeholders to increase awareness especially in provincial areas.”
He added that another important finding is the acquisition of natural resources in the form of land, which are denied by virtue of gender, age or not having financial will to acquire one. The study therefore recommended that the government introduce a comprehensive land policy to address the issues, minimise the vulnerability and disproportionate discrimination of access to and ownership of land against women.
He pointed out that other findings include youth unemployment and knowledge on human rights. Jowla said that 63.7% of the respondents are employed while 36.3% reported that they are unemployed. He also said that after further analysis, 74.3% are self-employed and working in the agriculture sector as small medium farmers. Under human rights knowledge level and violations, respondents know that they have rights particularly the right to Education, Freedom of Speech, Right to Health, Security, and political participation. It was understood by the study that people do not have a deep understanding of human rights, which could be a factor limiting them being able to distinguish between rights violations and non-rights violations. It is also revealed that 77.7% reported that they have never experienced any form of human rights violations in the past 5 years while 22.3% reported the opposite.