The National Youth Council (NYC), in partnership with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), recently held a one-day town hall with youth leaders and government officials. youth organizations across the country.
The event held at the Bijilo International Conference Hall attracted more than 50 young people across the country. The event was held under the theme; “Shaping conversations to advance the national youth development agenda.” In addition, the forum is also designed to enable youth leaders, authorities and UNFPA to have meaningful conversations, identify issues affecting youth development and propose solutions.
Declaring the event open, Alhagie Jarju, Executive Director of the National Youth Council, recalled that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would be an elusive dream without the full participation of youth.
The forum, he added, seeks to define problems and challenges, propose solutions and priorities to be taken into account in the next UNFPA country programme.
He described the forum as a great opportunity for young leaders to network and share ideas, while urging them to participate fully in finding solutions to their problems.
Ndeye Rose-Sarr, UNFPA country representative, called the forum “timely”, at a time when the country’s new cabinet and parliament have been established.
“There is a great need for all to support people with disabilities and protect them from sexual violence as well as all forms of discrimination in society.”
Bakary Y. Badjie, Minister of Youth and Sports, described the timing of the event as very appropriate considering that it would also allow young people and authorities to dialogue on issues of concern.
Minister Badjie commended NYC and UNFPA for their efforts in setting up such an important forum.
“The Gambian government is coming with a national development plan and it would be in line with the challenges affecting the masses and the youth in particular. There are a lot of political reforms going on in the country and my ministry would continue to communicate with the leaders of the youth so that issues affecting their well-being are addressed, he said.
Lamin Fatty, acting executive director of the Gambia Disabled People’s Federation, said people with disabilities are the most vulnerable in the country, adding that they are neither represented in parliament nor involved in decision-making processes.