May 4, 2012, 1:26 PM
Side By Side Organization (SBSO) The Gambia, a registered voluntary, charitable, non-political and non-profit making youth body, on Saturday celebrated its eighth anniversary at a ceremony held at the Kanifing Municipal Council.
The event brought together many youth volunteers, partners as well as other prominent personalities.
Characterized by a march-past from Kairaba Shopping Centre along Kairaba Avenue to the KMC, the event was among others geared towards taking stock of the achievements registered by the organization.
Speaking on the occasion, Hatab Fadera, national coordinator of the organisation, gave a run-down history of the organization, highlighting among others its achievements since its formation on 4th March 2005.
“About eight years ago, a few patriotic and development-oriented school-going youths within the Kanifing Municipality conceived the idea of establishing a youth group with the objectives of empowering people through various initiatives and to lend a hand to the ever unending challenges of nation-building. What started as a mere community-based organisation soon became one of the most active national youth organisations in the country, with active operations in three regions of the country,” he indicated.
According to him, the organisation has a membership of about 300 youths and has the mission to strive and ensure unlimited access to sexual and reproductive health information, promote the sustainable use of environmental resources and address the empowerment of children and young people through education and awareness creation.
“The vision is to ensure a healthy society for children, young people, women and men and to facilitate the total protection of the natural environment for sustainable utility, while people’s capacities and consciousness are built to self-actualise and contribute to their own development; and that of their communities and the nation as a whole,” he added.
Commenting on the achievements, Fadera said SBSO has since its inception been engaged in community service and empowerment of people through its various programmes and initiatives.
He cited the development and launch of its three-year strategic plan as one of the greatest accomplishments of his youth group; a policy document, he said, which has since seen the organisation intervening in three areas, namely education, sexual and reproductive health and the environment.
Momodou Sabally, an author and the guest speaker, lauded the organization for their foresight and contribution to nation-building.
“I understand that you are doing this out of love for your country, because the community needs the helping hand of all of us,” Sabally said, and urged the young people to venture into meaningful activities that would earn them something positive in the future.
“You can do your work and at the same time offer services to the community. So in doing volunteerism, make sure that it does not affect your education,” he told the youths.
In his keynote address at the occasion, the newly-appointed executive secretary of the National Youth Council, Abubakarr Sissawo, acknowledged that SBSO is an organisation operating within the laws of this country, noting that it has been working with his council.
He commended SBSO for its eight years of uninterrupted social services, and urged others to emulate them.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Yankuba Senghore, the administration and finance officer, and Momodou Salieu Sowe, programme officer.