Youth Forum: UNICEF, YPM organise inter-school drama competition for children

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Young People in the Media (YPM) in collaboration with stakeholders in child protection with support from UNICEF recently organized a daylong Inter-School Drama Competition for Lower and Upper Basic Schools.

Inter-School Drama Competition was part of commemoration activities for the Day of the Africa Child with a local theme “Role of Children in Peace Building”  held at the Marina International School Hall in Fajara.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Executive Coordinator of Young People in the Media, Abdou Jatta, who doubles as UNESCO GAPMIL Global Youth Ambassador, noted that the role of children in peace building was in line with the DAC Global theme.

He said the Global theme was the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment, and equal opportunity”.

Jatta added that the inter-school drama competition focuses on unity, peace-building, nationalism, democracy and tribalism related to children towards peace-building.

He further expounded on the  general objective of the DAC celebrations in 2017 which was aligned  with  Agenda  2063,   noting that the AU  Committee of expert developed  and  adopted  Agenda  2040 formally  known  as  “Africa’s  Agenda  for  Children:  2040   Fostering  an  Africa  Fit  for Children”.

 “It  centers  around  aspiration  6  of  the  continental  Agenda  2063, an  Africa whose  development  is  people-driven,  relying  on  the  potential  of  African  people, especially  its  women  and  youth,  and  caring  for  children  by  focusing  on  children  and  youth as the drivers of Africa’s sustainable development.”

For her part, Fatim Badjie-Sinyan, Vice Chairperson Board of Director of YPM, said since 1991, when the Day of the African Child was first initiated by the African Union, it was set aside to honour the students who claimed their right to education and paid dearly with their lives in Soweto, South Africa on 16 June 1976.

Mrs Badjie noted that this has become an opportunity to examine progress towards health, education, equality and security for all African children. 

She explained that advocacy day such as DAC further advocate for children, to hear from children themselves, and encourage policy makers to do the same and act.

“We know that in the past, African governments had committed to peace building, yet, meaningful child participation in the affairs of state, community and family have been rare,” she said. 

She added: “This is an occasion for everyone to acquire a better understanding of meaningful child participation and peace building so that we promote and practice truly meaningful child participation towards peace building.”  

Hence, with the Day of the African Child being celebrated across the African continent, issues of immediate and pressing concern would be tabled.

UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Mr Eustace Cassell, highlighted the four major rights of children according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Such rights, he said, are right to health and thrive; education and development, protection from violence and practices and abuse, and participation in decision-making.

“Your roles are very pivotal in the implementation of all these rights,” he told the participants. 

Mr Cassell further expounded on the political repressions many children directly or indirectly suffered from abuse, violence, neglect and discrimination.

He reaffirmed UNICEF’s continued support to partner with global and local stakeholders in this process to ensure that peace-building initiatives that aim at using children as agents of change at the school and community levels.

The Director Department of Social Welfare, Madam Fanta Bai Secka, expounded that accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in The Gambia could not be achieved without nurturing the culture of peace and nonviolence amongst children.

She emphasised that peace not only comes from being able to contribute the best towards creating a world that supports everyone but it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.  

Author: Adam Jobe