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Network of Adolescent and Youth on Population and Development Hold Congress

Jul 6, 2009, 6:35 AM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah

Youth's representative or delegates across the country last Saturday 4th July, 2009 convened at friendship hotel in Bakau to witness yet another national congress of the network of adolescent and youths on population and development, to elect new executive committee that will steer the affairs of the network in the coming years.

Addressing regional delegates at the opening of the congress, Mr. Alhagie Colley, Programme Associate of UNFPA told the regional delegates that the Gambia has a youthful population with nearly half to two third of its population being young people.

He added that young people have adverse experience given the different political, economic, social, and cultural realities they face in their communities.

Investment in youths, UNDFPA Programme Associates explain further, is fundamental in achieving these goals.

According to him, youths are a force of change yet million of them faces lives of poverty, expiation and despair.

For Mr. Colley, UNFPA recognise the important role young people play in the development of and in the attainment of the MDG's, while putting emphasis on the need to engage youth with the intention to shirt resources to previously with a pro-poor focus.

He however believe that on estimated of 1.7 million young adolescent aged 10-19 years worldwide die each year from accidents, violence pregnancy related problems illness that are either preventable or treatable.

Mr. Colley finally disclosed that UNFPA have support the Government in the development of National Youth policy to address the reproductive health of young people.

For her part, Awa Dem, also revealed to the regional delegates, that adolescent constitute a significant proportion of the Gambia population adding that they experiences early sexual activity usually unprotected, teenage pregnancies unsafe abortions, STI, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse.

Mrs. AA Dem further noted that young people have limited access to life skills training which she added, further aggravates the situation of the adolescents.

Also speaking earlier on was Mr. Lamin K. Saidy, administrative officer who dilated on the overview of the network saying when ever adolescent reproductive health is discussed, series of critical issues emerge."

"Should adolescents be allowed to have access to reproductive health's information and services?" he asked, will formal education about reproductive health and sexuality lead to promiscuity" he continued.

Mr. Saidy also reminded the delegates that reproductive health is a right for every young people.

According to him, his network has also engaged in various activities including National seminar on population and development. Regional congress, community sensitization in sexual reproductive health, popularization of African Youth Chapter (jointly organised with NYC).

He commended the UNDFPA for their support.

Meanwhile, the congress proceed with the following people elect into office, Lamin Marong KM delegate as the chairperson, while Saikou Darboe was duly elected as assistant chairperson, secretary general, goes to Kaddy Ceesay a delegate from LRR, and Binta Ceesay another delegate from CRR will be her assistant.

Juli Janko of Banjul was elected as treasurer.

The chairperson elect also told journalist that he will live up to expectation and urged his member to support him.