By Fatou Saho
The Youth Empowerment Project on Tuesday hosted a participatory dialogue on combating youth unemployment and irregular migration at the YEP branch in Brikama.
The dialogue triggered discussions on factors that contributed to youth unemployment which many has now identified as a key factor leading to the surge in irregular migration.
The operation manager of YEP in the Gambia, Serreh Darboe, said the dialogue aims to inform people about their roles and responsibilities as citizens and duty bearers to talk about why youth unemployment is still a problem in the Gambia.
“If we engage each other, we will be able to empower one another to the prospect of development. It is a fact that our young people are in dilemma, in 2015 we lost a chunk of young people and history has repeated itself. The factors remain, the unemployment rate is high, the poverty rate is high, there is a low process when it comes to policies to youth development. Are we going to sit and allow our youth to perish on our watch?” Darboe asked.
She stated: “The purpose of YEP is to empower youth to be the change and serve the world. Without changing the perspective and the challenges young people are facing daily in our country, they will continue to choose the fantasy of Europe”.
The councillor of Kartong ward, Babucarr Kanteh, while speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Brikama Area Council, also highlighted the importance of having such a dialogue in the country in which youth would also have their say on discussions related to them and have their doubts cleared.
The programme manager at the National Youth Council, Ismaila Badjie, said they as a council, are advising government and providing them with data which they collect from institutions that are doing surveys on unemployment in the Gambia.
Mr Badjie said many people attribute unemployment to irregular migration but noted “it is not unemployment that is driving young people out of this country, the low salary is what is driving people out of this country”.