By Aminata Ceesay
The Gambia YMCA has recently held a daylong seminar on AFrica youth factbook targeting youth across the country to empower and help them prepare, plan for the future.
Speaking at the event held at YMCA hall, John Charles Njie, member of The Gambia YMCA noted that for the past one year, they have been gathering information about young people in Africa from the young people themselves through what they refer to as the ‘Africa youth factbook’ research.
He said: “We are here to share with you some research that has been done all over Africa, to tell you what young people are thinking about across Africa and some of the statistics are worrying but it is to give you information as to what will you do with it and how do we progress from here.
“We collected information from young people from all walks of life, those who are living in urban areas, male and female, rich and poor, from different religions, and from a large number of countries.
“I am seeing very worrying trends in our nation and the rest of Africa, in the sense that even now it is so difficult to have a youth empowerment project, program or activity because us young people when we are invited, we make demands. We expect food and transport refunds when we are invited to seminars despite the knowledge gain from the training which is not encouraging and us as young people should drive away from such.”
He further advised participants to plan for the future and not to allow to be influenced or distracted from achieving their goals.
Also speaking, Mrs Prisicilla Dunn, programme secretary the Gambia YMCA, said: “What kind of Africa do we want, now and in the future? It is really up to us as youth to shape it. The Africa we want is one where all countries individually and collectively create a continent where youth are in the driver’s seat of the African Renaissance.
“African Renaissance, it is where youth lead to overcome the current challenges confronting the continent, determine our own future, by breaking the dependency syndrome of colonial legacy, renew our identity as positive and full of pride, rise up and be counted and valued and respected by each other and globally.
“Safeguard and uphold the rights of all its peoples, rejuvenate culture ideals and practices, value and integrate indigenous knowledge into current thinking and methodologies, spearhead technological initiatives, stimulate scientific advances, reclaim our resources for our own benefit, achieve economic freedom, develop African solutions. It is an exciting journey indeed that lies ahead of us, starting now. It’s about developing ourselves, skilling ourselves, taking creative risks coupled with planning and analytic thought.”