Speaking at a press conference convened by YPM with partners at UN House in Cape Point recently, he said the Day of the African Child will be celebrated on the 21 June at Marina International School in form of poetry competitions among schools in Greater Banjul Area and West Coast Region.
“The content of the poetry slam will focus on this year’s Day of the African Child as a medium to communicate and advocate on the situational context of quality, free and compulsory education for all children in The Gambia and Africa in general. YPM is children-led organisation that seeks to empower young people within the framework of participatory platform for children and young people in advocating on child protection, child rights among others.
“This year’s theme: ‘A child-friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Africa’ which focused on the right to education for children in Africa is timely for a number of reasons. The African Children’s Charter recognises a right to education for all children, and calls on state parties to ensure the fulfillment of these rights. Education is a tool for empowerment for children in Africa, it enables us to achieve our maximum potential and enhance our capacity…”
Abdou Jatta, Unicef-Speak Africa spokesperson and the coordinator of YPM said the theme seeks to call the attention of African governments, UN agencies, NGOs, CSOs and others to take charge of responsibilities in respect of ensuring children’s rights to education in accordance with the Africa Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
“It honours those who participated in the Soweto uprising in 1976 in South Africa where thousands of black school children took to the streets to protest the inferior quality of their education and demand the right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shot and killed. This day has since served to highlight issues affecting the lives of children and young people around the world. The Day of the African Child is an opportune moment to take stock of the progress made and outstanding challenges towards the full realisation of rights of children”, he said.
Also speaking, the national director of ChildFund, James Pimandu said of his organisation: “Our mission is to support deprived, excluded and vulnerable children to have the capacity to improve their lives and the opportunity to become young adults, parents and leaders in their communities. Considering Africa’s population characteristics with especially high fertility rates and minimal progress made in some MDG areas, most countries are not yet on course to achieve MDG2 ( universal Primary completion) and MDG3 (gender equity) that have bearing on this year’s theme. Let us adopt a child-friendly approach to fulfill the right to education for children including children with disabilities and other vulnerable children. Let us share good practices in the provision of free and compulsory education.”
Senior education officer at the regional education directorate region one, Lamin F Jaiteh, underscored the importance of basic and secondary education. He maintained that his office puts a great premium on “quality, and relevant education in The Gambia because every child has a right to education. Education is not a privilege but a right for children.”
While sharing the Christian perspective on the role of women in the promotion of religious tolerance, Mrs Elizabeth Njie, representative of Christian Council said: “Women are peace-builders and women should be tolerant in spreading out religious tolerance among the people. We should love our neighbours as we love ourselves. This is a message that we should share in homes and in work places to promote the spirit of tolerance”.
By Sainey Marenah]]>