adviser to Gambia’s Information minister has encouraged the country’s young
people to be more willing and energised at all times when it comes to
participation in problem resolving at national growth.
Ndaye Tapha Sosseh said there still remains a great disconnect between Gambian’s perception about governance and the rapidly changing realities present on the ground. “But Gambian youth are the key to resolving the entrenched problems facing their generation,” she stated.
Addressing some 45 young people mainly “back way” returnees at The Gambia Talents Promotion multimedia internship training for youth employability at Tango, the former Gambia Press Union president Sosseh highlighted the common stereotypes of governance in the country and appealed to people in the media to offer simplistic images and stories.
Sosseh said the media should strive to portray opportunities present and available to Gambian youth and provide a two way platform of communication between youth and leaders to strengthen democracy and human rights, expand economic opportunity and support those who sought peace and national reconciliation in areas where distrust had festered.
She said young people have the power and energy to transform their communities and the entire world. “Gambian youth are the key to resolving problems like education, unemployment, health and violence and the media should play their role to link and advocate for the inclusion of youth in every aspect as they are the driving force of national development.”
Gambia Talents Promotion country coordinator Fatou Samba said the internship targets to provide young people with the necessary tools, knowledge and resources that will enable them to gain employment. “Our mission is to inform, educate and entertain Gambians using our talents.”
She said having realised the struggles and challenges of Gambian young people, they decided to offer a one year internship training to them. “Over the years, the number of school dropouts continues to rise and the crime rate escalating especially after the new dispensation. With a lot of young people embarking on the “back way” in the past five years and the experience they gather over the years, a lot of them have come to realise that office job is not the only way opportunity available,” she said.
In 2017, Gambia was one of several African nations that experienced an influx of returnees from Libya. One thing these young people gained from their journey through the Sahara is experience. Many of them have now come to realise that they do not necessarily have to travel to make it in life.
Baboucarr Sallah, head of finance at European Union funded Youth Employment Project-YEP- appealed to the young people to prioritise education and to invest their last dalasi into it.
Mustapha Badjie from the National Enterprise Development Initiate-NEDI- and Adama Beyai, spokesperson of the National Youth Service Scheme –NYSS- both assured the youth that government is aware of their potential but said effective mobilization will be required if any degree of self-reliance and national development is to be achieved.
Lamin D. Ceesay, a returnee stated that traveling to Europe and elsewhere in the West is not the only way to succeed in life. “My journey in 2015 was a serious experience. We spent days without food and water and even ended up in prison. I spent about D130, 000 to get to Libya which all went in vain”
He appealed to young people to realise that they have potentials and can effectively engage in productive ventures like skills acquisition. “When I was deported in March 2017, I thought that was going to be the end of my life but The Gambia Talents Promotion is now training me to become a camera man, video editor and journalist. It is rebuilding my life.”