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NYC marks African Youth Day

Nov 4, 2010, 1:01 PM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

The National Youth Council (NYC) on Monday commemorated the African Youth Day as well as the International Year of Youth on the theme: “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”.

The international community has declared this year as International Year of Youth through the United General Assembly (A/RES/64/134) thus marks the aspirations of a new generation of youth.

Since then The Gambia has attached serious attention to the Youth Day by observing it annually and by putting in place measures and structures that would improve the conditions of the youth, cognizant of the fact that the youth form 63% of the country’s population and in recognition of the potentials of the youth and the dedication needed for their active involvement in solving problems that affect their lives.

The youth of The Gambia are faced with numerous socio-economic problems that impede their development as young people. For these problems to be addressed there is need for more focus and strategies to mobilize the necessary resources and capacities to overcome the challenges they are faced with.

In their quest to address the issue of young people in The Gambia, the National Youth Council and the Ministry of Youth and Sports deem it fitting to mark this very important year.

The symposium held on Monday was an opportunity for young people from different youth organisations to exchange ideas on issues affecting their lives.

The youth gathering held at the Friendship Hotel in Bakau discussed matters that could assist youth to pave their way in nation-building.

The acting permanent secretary for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, congratulated the youth on the day. He encouraged young people to make the best use of the opportunities in the country for youth development. He cited Gamjobs, the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS), National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) and the President’s Awards Scheme among others as structures put in place by government to develop the youth.

Marchel Mendy, executive secretary of the NYC, admonished young people to always engage in dialogue to foster mutual understanding among themselves.

Also in his message on the day, Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the African Union believes in youth dynamism, optimism, solidarity and dedication to make a peaceful Africa.

“I am fully confident that African youth are playing important role in this process and contributing in sharing the peace values on the Continent, because youth can make peace happen,” he said.

“The celebration of the African Youth Day on 1st November and 12 months of celebration of the occasion of the International Year of Youth are given opportunities to value mutual understanding and strengthen peace among young people in Africa, by using more comprehensive dialogue and avoiding conflicts.”

According to him, the theme chosen for both events is so important and meaningful for the whole of Africa and in particular for the youth.

He said that peaceful communication and dialogue is needed in Africa and can lead all stakeholders to consensus and mutual understanding in so many issues favourable for sustainable development.

He added that the Commission will continue to contribute to the strengthening of youth capacities, skills and networking. “The AU Heads of State and Government have always expressed their political will to see the young people strengthened and empowered for quality contribution to the positive change in Africa. Therefore, you, young people of Africa, should take advantage of this opportunity and work harder for more quality and sustainable achievements. Considering the fact that in 2010, the Summit of Heads of State and Government has decided to devote the July 2011 Summit to the reflection on ways and means to “accelerate youth empowerment for sustainable development” as well as to recognise the role that African Youth can and must play within the Continent, not only in its quest for sustainable peace, but also in its development and true integration of its people, including the youth.

He encouraged the stakeholders involved in youth issues to engage more dialogue in order to establish mutual understanding on problems and challenges facing the youth in Africa.

Mr Ping further encouraged the African Youth to continue to champion the dissemination of the African values among themselves and the society in general.