Youth Forum: ‘No better place to support youth than NAYCONF’

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lamin Darboe, executive director of the National Youth Council has stressed that there is no better place to support youth than National Youth Conference Festival (NAYCONF).

“If you want to support young people, there is no better place today than supporting NAYCONF,” he said on Thursday in Brikama, West Coast Region during the handing over of NAYCONF flag to the region as part of the flag tour.

NAYCONF flag tour is traditional activity of the event to raise awareness and seek for support, prayers, and guidance from the authorities and the public. It’s the symbol of hope and motivation and empowerment of Gambian youth.

The National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF), is a biennial event managed and coordinated by an Organizing Committee under the auspices of the National Youth Council.

This activity aims to bring young people together from all over the country and other parts of the world to share experiences and dilate on major issues that affect their lives and wellbeing.

 It is also a platform for taking stock and critically assessing policies, programmes and activities that were meant to be implemented with a view to empowering young people for national development.

It is schedule to take place from 15th – 22nd December 2017 in Basse, Upper River Region under the theme, ‘’New Gambia: Opportunities and Challenges for Youth’’ and is targeting over 2000 young people (both male and female) including physically challenged people.

The main outcome of NAYCONF 2017 includes the development of the first ever Gambia country Programme of Action on Youth (GPAY 2018 – 2019), increase awareness on youth irregular migration among others.

“We hope the NAYCONF flag will bring that opportunity along to deliver service to young people, to ensure that we are not only better prepared, but also to be able to achieve the outcomes we set for ourselves,” he said.

He said this year’s NAYCONF will be the biggest youth gathering in the new Gambia, saying it remains to be a platform to educate and build the capacity of young people to become responsible citizens.

He declared: “We do this to create a platform for them to know what they did not know before, in terms of government policies, positions and what they want to do, this keeps their hopefulness of the future, because they are hopeful, they always work to support those processes.”

He noted that the festival will be a platform for young people to engage the government to understand new government ideas, position and spirit so that national consensus can be built as to what the role  of young people will be.

“We want to reposition the youth priorities in the New Gambia agenda; we cannot do that without the government and authorities. These are just the raw ideas we have but we will need the blessing, support guidance of experts and people who know,” he said.

Abdoulie Jallow, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, said their doors are always open as far as youth development is concerned.

According to him, in the recent national development plan, harnessing the demographic dividend of youth is one of the strategic priorities of the new Gambia.

“The issue of youth is cross cutting, so empowering youth will certainly help not only transform our economy but also address our national development challenges,” he stressed at his office while receiving the NAYCONF 2017 flag.

He challenged the NYC to further strengthen their advocacy, saying awareness is very important, because there are lots of opportunities but people could not take advantage of them due to lack of awareness. “Advocacy is core as far as development or youth empowerment is concerned.”

He said government has also been doing a lot as far as helping to educate the youth population, this is why they came with Trust Funds for girls’ education and they are also working on one for boys. This is intended to increase the enrollment of youth in the education sector. 

“Youth is core as far as the transition is concerned, trying to empower the youth is important if you want to maintain political and economic stability. The more they are empowered the more you have economic and political stability,” he explained.

Wandifa Drammeh, secretary to Technical Advisory Committee (TAG), West Coast Region (WCR) expressed delight at receiving the flag on behalf of WCR as the start to the journey to the NAYCONF proper.

Dembo Kambi, chairperson of the National Youth Council said this year’s NAYCONF, the young people want to take ownership in the new dispensation.

Alhagie Sarjo Ceesay, director of corporate Affairs at Gamtel, said women and youth are the bedrock of the society; without them there could not be any development.

“We are proud to be associated with NAYCONF and we will continue to support the cause as we always do,” he promised.

He assured the organizers that Gamtel would support and take part in the areas of ICT.

Alhagie Seedy Jaiteh, deputy director at Gamtel said Gamtel has attached huge importance to NAYCONF to give courage to young people to go for Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The flag has already toured the Ministries of Tourism and Culture, Agriculture, Health, Lands, Basic and Secondary Education, Defense, Army Headquarters, Fisheries and Water Resources, Justice, National Assembly, UNESCO/NATCOM, and the tour continues.

Author: Sulayman Ceesay