The Panchang Youth Development Association (PYDA) was recently launched at a ceremony held at Panchang Village, Upper Saloum Constituency, Central River Region (CRR).
Speaking at the official launching, Omar Abou Khan, Governor of CRR, underscored that the development of any community starts with a process involving all segments of the locality, including the often-overlooked youth population.
He congratulated the membership Panchang Youth Development Association (PYDA) and indeed the entire Community of Panchang for coming up with such an important initiative and urged all to remain steadfast and committed to attaining the aims and objectives of the association.
Momodou Katim Touray, who doubles as the guest speaker and deputy permanent secretary- Programmes at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research Science & Technology & Religious Affairs, noted the merits of forming or revitalising such an important association, which is a non- political, and non- sectarian aimed at mapping out strategies for the sustainable development of Panchang citizens and non- citizens alike, is highly commendable and worthy of emulation.
Touray maintained that key among the merits of forming such an association are to enhance interaction and social cohesion amongst its members who are in diverse places both in The Gambia and abroad; fosters understanding among its members and residents of Panchang; creates a platform where issues affecting the development of Panchang are discussed, planned and implemented.
“It was also designed to enhance networking and resource mobilisation within and outside the country; last, but by no means the least, it enhances mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence among youths, elders and the government. Community development which is everyone’s responsibility seeks to improve the quality of live which also results in mutual benefit and shared responsibility among community members. If we aim for a very high success rate in our development agenda, it is critical that we recognize the linkage and relationship between social, cultural, environmental and economic matters and most importantly the diversity of interests within our community”, he said.
Captain Mamat Mbye, chief guest of honour and chairman of the Council of PYDA, said that the real wealth of a truly functioning community lies in its people, adding that the greatest resource is a communal will to work together, to draw strength from each other and to share talents, skills and resources for the benefit of all.
Kalipha MM Mbye, Secretary General of PYDA, informed that community development is the ability for local people to mobilize resources to address local needs as envisage by PYDA, noting that youth are in a position to be among the stable and long-term contributors that help guide this process.
Youths, according to him, represents vast and often untapped resource for immediate and long-term community development efforts. “They also provide an invaluable resource for program planning and effective evaluation. As youth are brought into and connected with organizations and civic roles that they have traditionally been excluded from, they can participate in active and equal decision-making at multiple levels. Such collaborations will lead to skill enhancement and confidence-building traits, which will help prepare them for navigating toward adulthood”.
Madi JB Ceesay, President of PYDA made the welcoming remarks on behalf of the PYDA.
by Aji Fatou Faal-Sonko