a Gambian human rights and development organisation has launched human right
clubs in ten schools across the country, the organisation’s director Nfamara
Jawneh disclosed on Friday at Brufut Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School.
The launching of the clubs is the 10th of its kind that Beakanyang has initiated in the country with support from United States Embassy, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and Youth for Human Rights International.
Mr. Jawneh told this reporter that the beneficiary schools include Nyakoi Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School in URR, Nasir Senior Secondary School also in URR, Armitage Senior Secondary School in CRR, Soma Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School in LRR, Masroor Senior Secondary School in WCR, Brufut Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School in WCR, Nusrat Senior Secondary School in KM, Tallinding Annex Lower Basic School in KM, Charles Jow Memorial Academy in KM and Gambia Senior Secondary School in Banjul.
According to him, the programme forms part of a six-month pilot project that his organisation is implementing with the objective to promote human rights education in schools and to build a culture of human rights in The Gambian.
“It also seeks to popularise the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in Gambian schools, alleviate the culture of fear in New Gambia and promote good governance and political pluralism. Today, we are witnessing a historic moment here as this is the first of its kind in these schools and last but not the least clubs to be launched by Beakanyang in this pilot phase of our project,” he added.
According to the Beakanyang director, their wish is to see that the programmes cover all upper basic and senior secondary schools in the country by 2020.
The rights activist added that with this programme, they also want to inspire and nurture a cohort of young human rights defenders and advocates in The Gambia and to promote social cohesion, peace and unity in New Gambia.
He thanked the U.S. Embassy in Banjul, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and Youth for Human Rights International in USA for complementing his organisation’s efforts in promoting human rights education in schools.
“During the past couple of weeks, I have travelled to almost every part of the country advocating human rights and launching rights clubs in various schools and I was overwhelmed with the level of interest among Gambian kids and teachers with regards to understanding their rights. I only hope that we will secure more support from our partners to take this to another level and to sustain the gains already registered because the future of this country lies mainly in the hands of the young people,” he stressed.
Mr. Jawneh, who also doubles as Youth for Human Rights Country Coordinator recalled that during the past 22 years, Gambians have witnessed gross human rights violations such as arbitrary arrest and detention, media censorship, disappearances and torture.
“We must never allow such human rights violations to happen again in this country and to do that, we must all know our rights and responsibilities towards one another and in nation building,” he said.
Jawneh stressed that human rights are standards that allow all people to live with dignity, freedom, equality, justice, and peace.
In his launching statement, Malang Kuyateh, a senior education officer at regional educational directorate in region 2, thanked Beakanyang and its partners for institutionalising human rights education programme in schools.
According to him, by teaching students on human rights at early age would prepare them to become more proactive and responsible citizens and future leaders.
He encouraged students, especially club members to take the club seriously while stressing that the initiative is in line with his ministry’s policy of providing quality education to all children.
Meanwhile, about 300 copies of human rights booklets, manuals and CDs were donated to Brufut school while about 2000 copies where distributed to all the participating schools.
Muhamed Jabby, principal of Brufut Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School thanked Beakanyang for choosing their school among the lot to benefit from such an important program.