Sep 2, 2013, 10:08 AM
The National Youth Council (NYC) in collaboration with youth friendly partner institutions in the country yesterday observed the African Youth Day.
The celebration began with a march pass from Bakau Police Station to the Friendship Hostel where commemoration proper was held.
The theme for this year is: "African Youth for Peace and Development."
Addressing celebrants, the Executive Secretary of NYC, Mr. Marchel Mendy, acknowledged the important role youths play in the socio-economic development of the country.
The event, he said, is an opportunity to enhance the contribution of youths to the peace and development of the continent and The Gambia in particular, to support youth development efforts across Africa and as outlined in the African Youth Charter as well as to improve and facilitate the youth participation process in development.
NYC boss maintained that his office under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports would not relent in their quest to develop and implement appropriate policies, programmes and initiatives that meet the development needs of youth. He said that all that the Gambia need is a generation of youths that would restore hope, build peace, social justice and accelerate socio-economic development through a reinforced capacity in science and technology among others.
Deputizing the Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports, Malang Jarsey, the Director of Youth and Sports said that a day is set aside to reflect on the progress made with regard to the development of our future leaders and also to map out strategies as way forward for their empowerment.
The gathering, he said, will go a long way to remind stakeholders about the pledges they've made at the time of the ratification of the African Youth Charter.
"If recent years, the African youth have witnessed years that could be defined as the years for preparation and initialization within the African Youth Development agenda, the next two years have to be logically define as the years for implementation and reinforcement," he added.
Mr. Reuben Mboge, UNFPA Assistant Country Representative, believes that the African Union selected the theme for this year to encourage youth involvement in contributing to economic development, poverty reduction and conscientious efforts to promote human development and stability in member states.
He underscored the numerous support his office rendered to youth empowerment, particularly in the areas of adolescent, sexual and reproductive health.