Nov 19, 2012, 12:07 PM
Child Protection Alliance (CPA), in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and CEDAG, on 19 November held a symposium to mark the commemoration of the World Day for the prevention of child abuse.
The forum, held at the KMC multipurpose complex in Kanifing, was attended by child rights activists, children and youths.
The theme of the event centred on harnessing efforts to protect children and prevent them from abuse of drug and alcohol.
In her opening statement, Fatou Bai Secka, director of Social Welfare, said The Gambia joined the rest of the world to commemorate the day, for people to reflect on child abuse as well as the vulnerable ones.
She assured the gathering and young people in general of her department’s continued support to families and vulnerable communities to create the enable environment to protect children.
She implored on all child rights organizations to intensify their advocacy to create more awareness on child rights.
Director Secka added: “It is important to put prevention strategies in place, hence the challenges are enormous.”
The Social Welfare boss noted that the plight of street children is a concern to her office.
Street children are the most vulnerable on the earth and are often affected with violence thus need to be protected, she says, adding that a child should grow up in a favourable environment that is void of hostility.
“It is the duty of States and individuals to protect children from drugs and alcohol abuse,” Madam Secka said.
She commended CEDAG and CPA for their collaboration in promoting child empowerment.
Speaking at the event, Abdoulie Ceesay, Public Relations Officer of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), said the world has been facing numerous challenges and continues to face the same in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse among young people.
However, PRO Ceesay revealed that the
“The NDEA has intensified its fight against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country, particularly among the young people,” he said.
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment on the war against drug and corruption.
Mr Ceesay said the awareness campaign and other mechanisms put in place by the government through the relevant authorities have significantly yielded positive results in the reduction of drug demand and supply at some level.
The society should protect children and adolescents from drugs, he said, adding: “The war against drug abuse and alcohol requires concerted efforts from everyone.”
Speaking earlier, Fabakary Kalley, deputizing the chairperson of the CPA, said the day is meant for reflection and to know “what it is all about”.
He also appealed to the gathering to focus on issues to know why “we have child abuse” and how to bring about a positive change.
“Let us look at the past to prepare for our future,” Kalleh said.
He encouraged individuals and organisations to come up with a child protection policy to safeguard the interest of children.