Speaking in an interview with The Standard newspaper, the speaker of the NYP, Samba Bah, pointed out that the project “is fundamentally important” as the NYP limbers up to stay true to its slogan by being the voice of the youths in The Gambia.
Dilating on the rationale and significance of the training programme, he said: “Youth participation in national development is vitally important. We have a good number of young Gambians who are serving as young parliamentarians. For them to be able to carry out their legislative functions of keeping their elected officials from their regions accountable, they need to be trained. That is why we are coming up with this grand project.”
He said the training programme will hugely help the participants while enhancing the socio-economic development of The Gambia, Samba Bah, who has been at the helm of affairs of the NYP for three years added: “I believe, enormously, that if we have a strong cadre of young parliamentarians, the long term future of our great country is secured. Statistics point out that 60% of our population are within the age bracket of youths, so with this huge youth bulge, we are at a crossroad. We either harness their potentials or risk taking a downward spiral. We cannot afford that. We are training these youths to go back to their regions, and promote education, skills acquisition, and spot opportunities and spread them”.
Asked about the terrible toll that the current wave of illegal migration had on The Gambia’s youth chunk, and what his organisation is doing to stem the tide, he replied: “We as an organisation are aware of the pull factor of migration, which can be attributed to a larger extend to the cost-of-living-crisis that so many youths are facing, and pushing them in search of so-called greener pasture abroad. We are coming up with solutions that are practical, tangible and deliverable, not solutions that are cobbled up on the back-of-the-fag-packet. Education and skills acquisition can encourage them to stay and contribute to the country.
“Quite apart from being trained on civic legislature, participants will also be opportune to be trained on familiarising themselves with the Local government act, which many don’t comprehend fully how it operates. Also, roles of parliamentarians and elected councilors will be discussed at length. To strengthen their capacities on civic citizen journalism, we will have training on that as well. The ultimate aim is to have them back in their regions to constructively engage their elected representatives through radio programs we will have running across all the nook and cranny of The Gambia”.
He thanked the US Embassy in The Gambia for “demonstrating their commitment towards building strong governance institutions in The Gambia by creating an energised, empowered and informed population”, noting that “their unstinting support is encouraging, and we appreciate their partnership”.]]>