Officials gave this clarion call on Saturday while marking the tenth anniversary of the organisation founded in March 2005.
The event was held at the Kanifing Municipal Council grounds under the theme, ‘A decade of Volunteerism in The Gambia.’
In his address, Hatab Fadera, the national coordinator of Side By Side while describing youth as the cornerstone of every society, said their main objective was to empower young people in their endeavours.
He says: “It [organisation] began as a mission to empower people, especially the under-privileged through volunteerism and community services. It was founded on 8 March 2005, when a group of students who were bonded by a common vision set the agenda of a charity to contribute immensely to the advancement of the human race. These are courageous youth who think they have the obligation to their society.
According to him, there was an urgent need to sensitise and raise awareness of young people especially on sexual and reproductive health issues and rights.
He added: “In the past decade, many organisations emerged with brilliant and innovative ideas to contribute to the development of society, but unfortunately many could not stand the test of time owing to many factors. However, for us the story is quite the opposite.”
He said since the inception of side by side, they have sponsored over six hundred under-privileged students in all categories of the schooling system.
On his part, Landing Sanneh, the executive director of National Enterprise Development Initiative, said young people make up the bulk of the country’s population, thus necessitating adopting proactive steps to meet the challenges they face.
Side By Side Project Coordinator, Momodou Salieu Sowe, said the organisation has delivered various empowerment programmes to Gambian youth. He stated that there is need for stakeholders to pool ideas together on how to help young people become responsible citizens.]]>