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Youth Development crucial - US Envoy

Dec 20, 2011, 12:32 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Ambassador of the United States of America to The Gambia, Pamela Ann White, has underscored the importance of youth development, stressing that this is crucial to socio-economic growth and well-being.

Ms White was speaking Sunday afternoon to a cross section of youths during the official launch of the US embassy-sponsored five-month radio talk show and CD audio production, which was implemented by This Generation Group, a youth advocacy organization that focuses on youth development.

The audio CD, which has been released, is now available free of charge to the public and Gambian schools.

Compiled by This Generation Group, the CD among others seeks to enlighten youths on important issues affecting their livelihood, as well as addressing them.

The CD was also born out of the desire of the Dialogue with Young Gambian Leaders (DWYGL) Program 2011 which was organized by the US Embassy in Banjul in partnership with Think Young Women; This Generation Group; Lend A Hand Society; and IVLP Alumni Association.

The forum held under the theme; “Yes, Youths Can”, was organized as a follow up to President Obama’s meeting with young African leaders in Washington, DC in 2010 attended by three Gambian youths.

Ambassador White challenged young people to rise up to the challenges, and to make the best use of the opportunities at their disposal.

She encouraged them to openly discuss challenges they are faced with, and potential solutions to those challenges.

“I personally I have a great time during the radio talk shows, which will no doubt have a positive impact on young people. Twenty years ago, there were no opportunities that young people are having today, hence the need for you to make best use of those opportunities,” she stated.

Noting that the future of The Gambia lies in the hands of the young people, ambassador White told them to ask questions, talk to one another, and to support each other.

According to Korka Jallow, coordinator of This Generation Group, the CD is a compilation of songs and three drama sketches in three languages (English, Mandika, Wollof).

“The CD highlights issues affecting young people, and how they could effect change. The production of the songs and video, as well as the audio is meant to sensitize the public on the issues that affect young Gambian people, which will be an ideal tool to make the general public aware of the issues and present the solutions to the challenges outlined during the discussions held at the forum and radio talk shows.”

Joseph Colley, Director of Communication, Publicity and Training at the Independent Electoral Commission, said he is proud to be associated with young people, especially those initiating programs that will impact on their lives.

According to Colley, young people also contribute to the electoral process in The Gambia as they actively participate in voting and advocacy, as well as serving as local election observers.

Tijan Smith and Ida Jatta both members of This Generation Group expressed similar sentiments.