The Chairman of the Brikama Area Council (BAC) has underscored that the preamble of the African Youth Charter (AYC) recognises the fact that Africa’s greatest resource is its young populace.
Bakary Saibo Sanneh was speaking recently during celebrations marking the International Youth Day at the Brikama College Campus.
Presenting on the topic ‘’Enhancing Democratic Youth Representation, Youth Power and Voice in Councils’, Chairman Sanneh noted that the emergence of ideas of a proactive governance structure recognises and advocates for inclusion of young people as democratic agents.
“However, the principal argument in Africa today is that despite significant knowledge of youth representation, they are still marginalised and I want to pursue here to pay a growing tribute to President Jammeh because since 22nd July 1994, he spent significant resources in the promotion of youth welfare,’’ he said.
He quoted Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General who once said; “Normally when we need to know about something, we go to experts, but we tend to forget or when we want to know about youths we should talk to them.’’
This, therefore, according to him, can be effectively done through their representatives in formal bodies as youths have a better perspective of the problems that affect them and as such they need to be integrated in policy planning, implementation and evaluation for a policy to be a success.
“In order words, youth representation enable youths to become active members of the democratic society,’’ he noted.
He further stated that one of the reasons why youth are marginalised in African societies is linked to their marital status, noting that in Africa ‘if a youth is not married he/she is still considered to be irresponsible’ and furthermore, the life style that the youth leave in the face of economic constrain, has made leaders lose confidence in their ability to participate effectively in any decision making process.
Alhagie S Nyang, the Regional Youth Coordinator for West Coast, said the celebration seeks to address issues confronting young people, saying that concerted efforts should be put together to combat such issues including poverty, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy amongst others.
“At this juncture, I must commend the President for putting young people at the forefront and for his continued efforts to value them as his administration has created a lot of avenues for them to excel,’’ he said.
Welcoming the gathering, Albino F Gomez, the Regional Youth Chairperson, stated that joining with stakeholders to commemorate such a great day is vital, emphasising that the Child-Fund Federation and Yep-Africa, who both supported the event are worthy partners to be associated with.
‘’The event is important because of many reasons as on December 17, 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the UN General Assembly endorsed the recommendations made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible For Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day in which The Gambia observes annually in grand style,’’ he noted.
He thus called on the young people to take a lead role in their communities towards positive development as well as to engage themselves in activities that are meaningful.
Ebrima Jarju, Child-Fund sponsored children from Dinding Bantaba delivering the vote of thanks noted that the day is worth celebrating as it is aimed at promoting the welfare of young people and their communities.
The celebration was characterised by a march past led by the Sanyang Scout Band.
by Binta A. Bah