Nov 12, 2014, 10:02 AM
The young people of The Gambia have spoken. The concerns they raised in the resolutions which emerged from the conference component of the National Youth Conference and Festival (NaYConF) are relevant to the development needs of today’s Gambia.
They have renewed demands, calling on the government in particular, as the primary duty bearer, to do this and that.
However, they were also courageous enough to look inward and commit themselves to the development of the country.
It is, therefore, hoped that all hands will be put on deck toward the realisation of those aspirations.
For young people to take the trouble to come up with these resolutions, after painstaking deliberations, is an indication that they have the country at heart.
And, as expected from them, they’re poised to contribute their quota. They don’t make demands because the government have failed them.
They made the demands because they have trust in the government; that it would address their concerns and needs.
Young people in The Gambia are faced with multi-faceted problems.
While significant improvement has been made in terms of access to education with schools spread out in almost every corner of the country, much remains to be done to have every child covered. Even where there is access, quality is a concern.
Indeed, when it comes to the issue of NaYConF resolutions, views and opinions vary as widely as those presenting them.
There are queries that the bulk of the resolutions made at the previous NaYConF were not implemented.
Others, however, believe that 80 per cent of the resolutions have been implemented. The debate continues.
Informed by the theme of the event and the issues that emerged from the workshops, this year’s resolutions are quite pertinent.
They speak volumes in terms of how youths could be engaged in entrepreneurship and livelihood skills; how to maximise the impact of agro business projects on youths; and how to transform our sports.
Other issues hinge on governance, specifically how young people are represented in the National Assembly and local governments and municipalities.
Sometimes youth leaders who are given positions of trust to steer the affairs of young people find themselves entangled in partisan politics, and end up being followers, instead of pioneers.
Youth leaders who stoop that low will ultimately surrender the rights and ignore the pains of the youths.
The resolutions are testament to the fact that NaYConF is more than the slaughtering of bulls for delegates. We encourage every delegate to get a copy of the resolutions and know the contents, share them with peers and discuss the resolutions, as well as monitor progress of implementation.
NB: This editorial was first published by the 2014 NaYConF Daily publication on Friday in Jarra Soma.
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”