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Young people are a nation’s most valuable resource. They are the present, the future and have the power to engineer progressive development. In The Gambia today, more than half of the people is made up of young people below the 24 years of age and a further 42 percent below 15 years of age. Consequently, given their constitution of majority of the population, when communities are engulfed in land related disputes, the young population is prone to be used to steer conflict and protect the interests of their communities.

Alagie Nyabally is a native of Sambang, a village in the Central River Region of The Gambia, which has for decades been in conflict with its neighbouring village. The 2 villages Sambang-Fula and Sambang-Mandinka influenced by land-related disputes resulting from the reduction of forest cover, soil fertility and grazing. These have resulted in the struggle to acquire more land space by community members to cultivate crops and rare animals to meet their needs. As a result, through community dialogues supported by UNFPA through the UN Peacebuilding project on climate change, young people from the 2 villages were brought together to enhance social cohesion, identify conflict mitigation approaches, and ensure lasting peace for all in their communities. “As young people we have witnessed crises involving our elders we have in some instances been used as agents of conflict to defend our communities” he highlighted.

He went on to share that “from now on, we have pledged to reconcile and will never let anyone drag us back. With the knowledge on agroforestry and peacebuilding, I am sure we will combat the many challenges caused by climate change in our communities, thus ensuring a conducive environment for young people like myself to contribute meaningfully to national development.”   

Community dialogues are a critical part of UNFPA’s interventions under the UN Peacebuilding Climate Change project to foster peace and resilience and encourage shared learning among communities, to arrive at sustainable solutions that contribute towards addressing the impact of climate change.



Media contact: Haddy Jonga – Programme Analyst, Communications