The United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) last Friday celebrated its 70 years of achievements in responding to the plight of children globally. The celebration, which was held in a form of banquetand theater evening, attracted senior government officials, members of the diplomatic community, National Assembly Members, among a host of others.
Speaking at the gathering held at Senegambia, the UN Resident Coordinator, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, said the celebration demonstrates the solid relationship that exist among the different UN agencies in The Gambia and between the UN system and The Gambia Government.
The celebration, she went on, recognises the UN’s commitment towards safeguarding the rights and wellbeing of the children and people of The Gambia through their strong collaborative efforts.
“As the leading UN agency on child rights advocacy, UNICEF’s work is linked very closely with sister UN agencies such as, UNFPA, WHO, FAO, WFP and UNDP as the complementary efforts of UN agencies is to ensure and reinforce the UN support in delivering development, particularly the most vulnerable population.” she stated.
According to her, achieving results for children is not only the work of UNICEF, but everybody’s business, noting that they can build synergies around the 2030 global development agenda, commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) to ensure that children are at the heart of all.
She thanked the Government of The Gambia for acknowledging the importance of working with its partners particularly the UN system, Civil Society Organisations, the private sectors, and bi and multi-lateral organisations in a well-coordinated partnership to achieve these goals.
For her part, UNICEF Country representative, Sara Beysolow Nyanti recalled that in 1953 in the wake of the disease called yaws, a contagious tropical disease caused by spirochete, the United Nations General Assembly extended UNICEF’s mandate and made it a permanent part of its body.
Since then, she went on, UNICEF has become the world’s leading international organisation mandated to advocate for the right and well-being of children.
She noted that over the years UNICEF has seen significant life-saving transition in their work and key among them is the shifting focus from addressing the needs of all children to narrowing their lens on the children, mothers and communities that are the most vulnerable.
This, she said, is all geared towards ensuring equitable access to essential social and development services for the least privileged.
According to her, their partnership with the Government of the Gambia began 51 years ago, as their first cooperation agreement with the Government was signed in May 1965. This agreement, she went on, articulated the mutual cooperation between the Gambia Government and UNICEF on how to successfully address concerns of children by ensuring that their rights are realised.
The celebration also witnessed the presentation of certificates and awards to winners of the Arts competition. The winners in the Early Childhood Development category include; Isatou Jallow of Redeemer in region two, who finished 2nd position, while Fatoumatta Susso of Kanubeh em66erged 1st position.
In the Lower Basic School category; Jim Sowe of Medina Kanuma LBS in region three finished 2nd position, while Ebrima Danjo of Wellingara Yarreh LBS in region six finished 1st position. Ousman L Manneh of Brufut UBS region two finished 2nd position, while, Ebrima Dahaba of Kulari region six finished 1st position, in the Upper Basic School category.
In the Senior Second School category; Pa Modou Badjie of Scanaid SSS in region two finished 2nd position, while Ernest Priddy of Nasir SSS emerged 1st position. Abdourahman Njie, a former student of Nasir SSS in region six is the only winner in the Out-of School category.
by Arfang MS Camara & Yunus Saliu