May 27, 2010, 3:58 PM
The National Youth Parliament and the Gambia Red Cross Society Youth Commission at the weekend held a two-day training on road safety for youth.
The training held at the Tango Resource Centre in Kanifing, centred on the theme: “Changing Minds, Saving Lives”.
The capacity development is not just to turn young people into road safety advocates, but it also aims to equip youths with project management, communication and advocacy skills to implement effective road safety projects and to raise awareness on the vulnerable position of young people in traffic.
Speaking on behalf of the minister of Youth and Sports, Sheriff Gomez, the executive secretary of the National Youth Council (NYC), Marchel Mendy, said the training programme made a significant milestone in the drive to promote road safety in The Gambia.
“It will also prepare advocates for the task that lies ahead of them,” says Mr Mendy.
He lamented that the calamities on our roads are no longer a secret and that as youth advocates they can play a critical role in maintaining road safety.
Mr Mendy pointed out that statistics from the WHO have shown that globally, more than one million people annually die on the road unnecessarily, majority of whom are young people.
He stated that road safety is increasingly becoming a development priority, with a growing recognition of the opportunities to align its focus on results with other sustainable development goals.
“Since no single government, agency or institution can single-handedly address the complexity of road safety, it behoves on all and sundry to make the enterprise all inclusive,” says the NYC boss.
Mendy thanked the organisers for their immense contribution to road safety in The Gambia.
Lamin Saidykhan, administrative secretary of the NYP, commended Elton Petrol Station saying they are key partners in road safety initiatives.
Road crashes are unique, therefore it is from that background they partner to broaden the minds of the youth to advocate for road safety, he says.
He disclosed that the NYP recently signed an MOU with the Red Cross Society and the National Youth Commission to empower the youth.
Also speaking on the occasion, Momodou Gassama, WHO Health Promotion Officer, said road safety initiative “is commendable”.
“It is to value lives and health, which are fundamental human rights,” Mr Gassama told participants.
“Road crashes are complex, thus calls for multi-sectoral action and multi-disciplinary body to address it.”
Mr Gassama admitted that 95% of road accident are preventable thus challenging the youth to take precaution, as they are the most vulnerable to road crashes.
He also said WHO’s main goal is to collaborate with government and sectors of society to improve on health and safety in society.
Alieu K. Jammeh, permanent secretary of Youth and Sports ministry made similar sentiments. “Whoever fights for road safety, fights for the safety of lives,” PS Jammeh says.
Siaka K. Dibba, winner of World Crossing Campaign Video, also spoke on the occasion.