Jun 11, 2013, 11:52 AM
The project, sponsored by the US Embassy in Banjul to the tune of $45,000, will kick off on 28 November 2014.
Speaking in the interview, NYP speaker Samba Bah pointed out that the project “is fundamentally important”, as the NYP wants to stay true to its slogan by being the voice of the youth in The Gambia.
Delving on the rationale and significance of the training, he said:“Youth participation in national development is vitally important. We have a good number of young Gambians who are serving as young parliamentarians.
“For them to be able to carry out their legislative functions of keeping their elected officials from their regions accountable, they need to be trained. That is why we are coming up with this grand project.”
Underlining how the training programme will help the participants and the socio-economic development of The Gambia, Samba Bah, who has been at the helm of the NYP for three years said:“I believe, enormously, that if we have a strong cadre of young parliamentarians, the long term future of our great country is secured. Statistics points out that 60% of our population are within the age bracket of youths, so with this huge number of youth, we are at a crossroad.
“We either harness their potentials or risk taking a downward spiral. We cannot afford that. We are training these youths to go back to their regions, and promote education, skills acquisition, and spot opportunities and spread them.”
Asked about the terrible toll that the current wave of illegal migration has on The Gambia’s youths, and what his organization is doing to stem the tide, he noted: “We as an organization are aware of the full factor of migration, which can be attributed to a larger extent the cost-of-living crisis that so many youths are facing, and pushing them in search of so-called greener pastures abroad.
“We are coming up with solutions that are practical, tangible and deliverable; not solutions that are cobbled up on the back-of-the-fag-packet. Education and skills acquisition can encourage them to stay and contribute to the country.”
Asked to reveal what sort of training programmes are lined up for the three-day event, the NYP speaker said: “Quite apart from being trained on civic legislature, participants will also be opportune to be trained on the Local Government Act, which many don’t comprehend fully how it operates.
Also, the role of parliamentarians and elected councillors will be discussed at length. To strengthen their capacities on civic citizen journalism, we will have a training exercise on that as well.
"The ultimate aim is to have them back in their regions to constructively engage their elected representatives through radio programmes we will have running across all the nooks and cranies of The Gambia.”
He thanked the US Embassy in The Gambia for “demonstrating their commitment towards building strong governance institutions in The Gambia by creating an energized, empowered and informed population”, noting that “their support is encouraging, and we savour their partnership.”