By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
As part of their objective to develop potentials and empower youths with necessary skills, the Young Men’s Christian Association the Gambia, (YMCA) on Wednesday ended a two-day youth convergence to discuss youths matters, peace and security with the theme; ‘civil responsibility and participation’.
The forum held at the YMCA office in Kanifing, aims to bring young people together to hear each other’s voices and look for a way forward in promoting peace and youths participation and livelihood creation. The conference is part of the Gambia YMCA’s 4-year ‘work 4 peace’ project.
Speaking, Priscilla HD Dunn, programme director YMCA Gambia, said youths are never too young to hold people accountable, and that by doing so, they will be responsible citizens willing to be part of the change that we wish to see.
She explained that ‘work for peace project’ through the Gambia YMCA and their funding partners Finland YMCA continue to empower youths to be contributors to peace and security through civil education and participation. The engagement creates awareness and support for the UNHCR 2250 among Gambia youths and the prevention and reintegration of migrant returnees.
“We continue to research in our three targeted region which is the Greater Banjul Area, West Region and Lower River Region with aim of positively impacting the lives of youths in the Gambia, by improving their social economic status,” she said.
She said they have reached out to 200 youths who consist of migrant returnees, people living with disability, vulnerable youth and women among others.
John Njie, National YMCA General Secretary said the activity is the last activities of the year YMCA will hold under this project.
Njie said young people of Africa have been used as subjects of political parties, subjects of political players as they are the ones dancing in the city, beating the drums, and at times used to instigate violence and end up being the victims.
“What we aim to do at YMCA is to move young people from being subject to become active citizens, that are going to contribute toward the welfare of their communities and welfare of their nation. We want to give you a voice, we want you to be empowered with skills, we want you to be empowered economically and we want you to have space to speak so that when you speak, the people around will listen and the only way this can happen is when we empower you with knowledge,” Njie told the gathering.
Emmanuel D Joof, Chairman National Human Rights Commission, said youth’s responsibility is very important in any society as their participation will bring changes. He challenged the participants to make the best use of the forum and share ideas.