Apr 1, 2010, 1:45 PM
The Network of Youth on Adolescents, Population and Development The Gambia (NAYPOD) recently called a press conference to inform the general public about the activities of the network.
According to its members, the mission of the network is to work on adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues to bring about a sustainable attitudinal and behavioral change among youths through provision of information, advocacy and training as well as strengthening networking and collaboration.
Speaking at the press conference, the national chairperson of the network, Lamin Marong, revealed that their ultimate goal is to contribute to the health and development of adolescents and youths, poverty, unemployment, gender inequity as well as through and effective participation in the fight against HIV.
Dilating on the background of the network, Marong told journalists that it was the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) forum held in Cairo, in September 1994, that stressed the need of the role of youth to follow their objectives and goals of the ICPD, the MDGs, eradication of poverty, gender and equity among others in the setting up of a legal framework of family planning, sexual health and the fight against HIV/AIDs.
Marong says that they are aware of the driving role that can be played by young people in an organised and operational framework, as their participation to the implementation of population and development programmes is a pertinent concern particularly in supplying youths with information and services on matters of sexual and reproductive health, the fight against HIV, in a coherent, energetic and effective way.
According to him, for the fact that young people aged 10-24 years old represent more than 20% of the total population entering sexual and reproductive life, they are characterised by ignorance of its sexual and reproductive health, high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STI), feminization of HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, poverty, among others.
He emphasised that NAYPOD’s vision is to see all
In the past, he said, the network was also engaged in life skills training, community outreach activities, illegal migration and others regions in the country.
He also made mention of motion to alliance with development partners in population and development.
For his part, Dembo Kambi, chairperson for West Coast Region, said activities like press conference would avail the youth the opportunity to know more about their health.
Kawsu Badjie, chairperson of Kanifing Municipal Committee, said they have established since 1999.
He stated: “The project is about building the capacity of the youth in population and development as well as on issues of migration.”
According to Mr Badjie, they have planned to incorporate live skills management training into their programmes.
Responding to questions, Badjie said it is a challenge to mainstream sexual reproductive issues with religion.
Another challenge, he pointed out, was that young people feel it is complex to see the doctor most of the time due to the stigma attached to it.
However, he assured of their readiness to take up the challenge.