Oct 12, 2021, 12:59 PM
The National Youth Conference and Festival (known as NAYCONF) is a bi-annual event that brings the nation’s youth together to discuss issues affecting their lives as well as their role in National Development.
It was originally called The National Youth Week and only consisted of Sporting and Cultural programmes.
Such Youth Week celebrations were first held in Banjul in 1974/1975, then in Basse, URR in 1975.
With the adoption of the National Youth Policy, the event became a biennial one and consisted not only on sporting and Cultural Programmes but Youth Conference as well.
The Conference affords youths, through their accredited representations the opportunity to discuss, matters of common interest vis-à-vis their role in National Development. The Youth forum serves as an authoritative source of information on the problems of Youth as seen by the Youths themselves.
The Youth Festival on other hand, engenders interaction amongst Youths inn a true spirit of oneness and love through the various sporting and cultural Programmes as well as participate in a community Service Project.
Youth Participants from the zone two countries are also invited to take part in the Festival.
The Youth Conference and Festival was first held in Bakau, Kanifing Municipality in 1990 followed by Janjanbureh’ Central River Region 1992 and Mansakonko, Lower River Region in 1994.
The week long event will feature a variety of sporting, cultural and intellectual programmes.
The opening will be marked by a spectacular parade of all youth delegates from different parts of the country, punctuated by cultural displays depicting the cultural forms that are most unique to each Region.
The second day will mark the official opening of the Youth Conference on the theme” Youth and the Challenges of the New Millennium”.
An Art and Craft s exhibition Portraying the talent of Gambian Youth in the Visual and plastic Arts across the country will be opened on the same day.
The rest of the days, will satisfy the sporting, theatrical and musical thirst of the youths through keen competitions.
The last day marking the closing ceremony of the Conference and Festival will witness the award prizes and certificates.
A National Committee was inaugurated in November 1998, by the then acting Secretary of State for Youth and sports, Captain (Retired) Yankuba Touray and charged with responsibility to co-ordinate of the week-long event.
The work of this Committee is complimented by that of various sub-committee whose task it is to address the financial, logistical and organizational implications of the event.
Gambian youth are choosing to ‘make it’ at home rather than go abroad, whether it’s in the arts or agriculture, tech or tourism.