#Article (Archive)

Let's Create Essential Opportunity

Jan 21, 2009, 5:23 AM

It has been very interesting to read the words spoken by Ms Cecile Balima-Vittin, an international Labour Standards Senior Specialists, based at the ILO Sub-Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal. At a recent three-day training workshop at the Senegambia Beach Hotel she revealed that there 150 million people currently unemployed in the world. She said this figure may grow to more than a billion if you include the underemployed.

We know the problems associated with unemployment all too well in this country. Young men in the prime of their lives with no job opportunities slip into the bored wasteful existence of crime, drugs, attaya drinking and alcohol abuse.

According to Ms Balima-Vittin, "Work is probably the most important single element that affects the life of individual human beings. It is critical to one's identity and future; it is the principal means by which people connect to their communities and to the wider economic system. It is also the primary route out of poverty. We know only too well how the absence of work can breed dissatisfaction and extremism, and ultimately threaten social cohesion by eroding the very values upon which sound economies and open societies are based."

We must heed these words very well. In these words is a very clear message for us as a nation as to how we might address some of the social problems facing the country. We must never stop striving to provide employment opportunities for all our young people.

They are not without responsibilities however. There are vast areas of land in The Gambia which have not been tilled or cultivated. With the agriculture sector there is opportunity for almost everyone to work if they wish to. Therefor we ask our young people not to give in to sloth or resignation and seek out work wherever they can. The adult population must also do their part and ensure that opportunity is soon something known to every Gambian youth.