Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gambia: National Youth Policy fails to identify future

Mr Momodou Sabally
Our current national youth policy though develops through a consultative process, has failed to identify the type or quality of individuals and adults the Gambia needs for her future well-being, according to Mr Fabakary Kalleh, chairperson of the National Youth Council.
“Since justices between the present and the future generation is recognised as a fundamental based for sustainable development, our programmes and activities should truly aim at the next generation when we who conceive them will no longer be in power,” he stressed.

Mr Kalleh, who is also the executive secretary of the Youth Ambassadors of Peace (YAP), was speaking on Saturday on “Youth development and youth leadership” during a “Change Makers Forum” at the American Corner on Kairaba Avenue, Kanifing Municipality, organised by the Children for Children Organisation (CFCO). 
The forum was aimed at discussing challenges affecting young people in the community they live and at all levels, while finding viable solutions and strategies to curb these challenges in partnership with the relevant stakeholders.
He said the national youth policy needs a long term vision which will define the kind of youth both the young and the adults wish for the nation.  He noted that discussion with young people of the Gambia has shown “an array of growing problems that they are faced with”.
Such problems includes unemployment, which he said threatens their livelihoods; and marginalization in the decision-making processes at community and divisional levels.
He added that the lack of opportunities for young people to realise their dreams, is one of the underlying causes of rural-urban drift and migration across borders in search of greener pastures.
Other factors include substance abuse; teenage pregnancy; incidents of the baby-dumping; early marriages; police brutality; inter-generational disputes; inadequate infrastructure; and lack of social amenities, especially in rural settings.
“Evidently, some of these problems are more pronounced in some administrative regions than others, and affect the youths in varying degrees and impacts,” said Mr Kalleh. “This has revealed deep frustrations and disappointment among the youth and has lend credence to the observation that youths mainly in the developing world are mostly deprived of opportunities and space to improve their well-being.”
Contradictorily, he said “one cannot help but hail the efforts of the Government of The Gambia for a well tailored National Youth Policy, formulated via a thorough consultation process between the Government, the Youth Organisations and stakeholders. It is Cross-Sectoral and comprehensive.”
Speaking on a similar topic, Mr Momodou Sabally, a youth activist-cum-director of budget at the ministry of Finance, said leadership involves the performance of functions including defining and communicating visions, and goals; representing followers; directing, influencing, mobilizing, motivating, creating enthusiasm and optimism; and providing services and making a difference.
Mr Sabally, Author of “Instant Success: Ten Keys to Personal Achievement, and Secrets of the World Champions”, said qualities to be developed as a good leader include self-discipline, being initiative, and having faith.
According to him, self-discipline helps one to keep at bay enticing temptations and focus on your roles and responsibilities. “It saves you from greed and selfishness,” he adds.
He said personal initiatives are fundamental to key leadership issues and helps people to bring about the change they desire. “You do not have to be a political leader to impact on the development of your country,” he said.
He described faith as the “cornerstone of achievement in any field. “If you want to succeed in anything, you must first believe that you can indeed succeed. Faith is essential for effective leadership in any field,” he reiterated.
There have been calls by the International Community for a greater participation of the youth in national development efforts. Governments are being encouraged to develop National Youth Policies that will bear in mind that the Youth do not only represent the future, but also the present.

Author: Modou S. Joof for The Voice newspaper

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