The Gambia Red Cross Society bi-annual youth Bantaba Friday ended at Siffoe village, Kombo South. The ten-day Bantaba brought together delegates from The Gambia, Kenya, Italy and Spain.
A Gambia Red Cross Society volunteer Sirreh Darboe said ten classes were conducted in areas of migration, entrepreneurship, first aid and others. She revealed that a Bantaba App was introduced to facilitate and enable others to follow their activities online.
Ms. Darboe said there was no problem during the period of the Bantaba, noting that it attracted 368 participants.
Ernesto Marusa, a delegate from Nairobi, Kenya said they were glad with the way Gambians welcomed them. He pointed out that everything was fine with him during his stay in The Gambia for the first time.
Adama Ndao, a Senegalese Red Cross Society participant said he was in The Gambia since 26 July for the youth Bantaba. He said there were only few challenges he encountered during the course of the Bantaba including language barrier, saying he was helped by Gambian delegates who would interpret English to him in Wolof.
Meanwhile, three-day training on positive behaviour to reduce violence among School children recently ended at the Region one office in Kanifing.
The training was organized by the National Youth Council of The Gambia and the United Nations Children Fund meant to reduce violence among school children funded by UNICEF.
The event brought together more than 50 students within West Coast and Greater Banjul Areas to educate them on issues around violence against children especially bullying in schools, homes and communities.
Youth and Sports minister Hadrammeh Sidibeh said it is necessary to consider safety and security in schools and to discourage the use of corporal punishment, which, he said should include initiatives to address violence among children in schools, such as bullying.
Minister Sidibeh revealed that bullying comprises the notions of “repetition, harm and unequal power.”
It includes a wide range of actions including name calling, false accusations to make trouble for the victim with authority figures, damaging or stealing belongings, threats and intimidation including through mobile phone and the internet. “Bullying can occur within and across groups of boys and girls.”
Adama Jimba Jobe, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education said bullying is something that is of grave concern to his ministry and staff.
“Bullying is something that we can no longer downplay, because it is preventing or stopping some of our youngsters accessing education.”
Mr. Jobe said it is a fundamental human right
for every child to access education and if anyone is stopped from or not
accessing education because of bullying that should be a concern to all.
He said bullying in schools is something that his ministry is very much aware of, thanking NYC and UNICEF for working towards addressing it. “Bullying happens in various forms, but what we are more concerned about today is the physical aspect of it that happen between student to student, teacher to student, students to parents boys against girls, boys against boy and girls against girls,” he said.
Eustace Cassell, child protection specialist at the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said violence has many forms and against children can be physical, sexual and emotional and bullying is also a form of violence.
He said: “We know that violence happen in schools, streets, home and communities; however, we need to find out what the law says about violence against children. Children’s Act has outlined all the things that we should do to help children grow and strive.”
He said the Act also prohibits violence against children, saying the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education also have some guidelines regarding violence against children, Women’s Act and other laws that sands against it. “We want to work with you to stop bullying in schools, homes and communities. We want you to start the ball rolling to stop it. At UNICEF, we want to use you as agents of change so that bullying can stop,” he said.
Janko Jawneh, Region 1 senior education officer admitted that bullying is happening in schools, communities and homes and appealed to people to work together to fight it. “It is a form of violence against children and should not be encouraged. If so, it may lead to something damaging to the children and society. As Gambians we should all join hands to fight against it at all levels,” he said.
Kambi, chairperson of the National Youth Council said it is a desire for NYC
and the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports to create safe
environment for the development of young people in The Gambia.
He said the training will help to ensure that youth and children have access to information that will be pertinent to their development as they growing towards becoming elders and future leaders. “Youth and children need to be given the necessary training, support and rights they deserve to become responsible elders and leader in the future.”We can train our youth of become good leaders and elders without bullying them. We can talk, counsel and encourage them,” he said.