At least one hundred youths from the community of Nyakoi and its environs in the Wuli West District, Upper River Region last Friday gathered at Nyakoi Lower Basic School to celebrate International Youth Day (IYD) in the form of a symposium.
Organised by Beakanyang Kafo, a youth-led NGO in the country, the symposium was centred on the theme: “Effective youth participation, a catalyst for national development”.
Addressing the gathering, Nfamara Jawneh, the Executive Director of Beakanyang Kafo, said International Youth Day is an awareness day initiated by the United Nations. “It is observed every year on 12th August across the globe.
The observance of the day seeks, among other things, to raise awareness on the plight of young people, as well as highlight the experiences of brave, young individuals who have chosen to speak out on issues, with the objective of overcoming such challenges, to ensure that young people realise their full potentials.
Jawneh opined that the day helps people understand the needs of the youth and to implement policies that will overcome the challenges faced by youths, and to ensure effective inclusion of young people in decision-making processes.
According to him, annually since 2011, Beakanyang has been observing the day with renewed vigor and commitment to youth development in the country.
“As a society, we must listen to the concerns of the young people and to map out tangible strategies towards addressing them. Youths’ effective participation either in governance, politics or policy formulation is essential for national development,” he added.
The Executive Director went on to remind young people that they should be involved in designing, influencing, shaping and contributing to policy and the development of services and programmes across all levels.
He emphasised that any attempts to limit the effective participation of youths in all spheres of development could tantamount to serious consequences for a nation.
He finally expressed gratitute seeing young people, especially girls turned out in their numbers to celebrate IYD in rural Gambia, just like their counterparts in Banjul and all over the world.
Speaking earlier, Ba Sama Jawneh, a parent from Sutukonding, enjoined youths especially students to take their education seriously to become successful in life.
Muhamed Jawneh, president of Kerewan Youths, applauded the local NGO for enlightening them.
According to him, the forum gave some of the participants first time opportunity to attend such a gathering where issues of youth empowerment and participation are discussed.
The president of Sutukonding Youth Association, Alhagie Jawneh, expressed their resolve to participate in governance processes.