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Young People Reflect on Current Peace and Security Situation in The Gambia

The importance of young people as change agents in the maintenance and promotion of peace in The Gambia, is critical. This is why, on Tuesday 2 October 2019, the Gambia National Youth Council, with support from UNFPA The Gambia, through the UN Peacebuilding Fund’s Women and Youth Project, held a Youth Reflection Meeting on Peace and Security in The Gambia.

The gathering bringing together about 70 young people, drawn from all the regions of The Gambia, was an opportunity to create a space for young men and young women of the country, to reflect on the current peace and security situation of the country, and identify how collectively, they can work to ensure sustainable peace for national development.

On her part, the chairperson of the opening ceremony, Kaddijatou Jabbie from the National Youth Council, stressed that, “there will be no development without peace, so young people, should be the champions of peace in our communities.”

Mr. Bakary Juwara, delivering the keynote address on behalf of the UNFPA Representative, stressed that, building young people’s capacities as peace and security building actors, is key to strengthening the country's democratic governance and support in proffering solutions to problems both at local and national levels, because, young people are key stakeholders in the peace agenda. He added that, for a nation to thrive, it’s women and young people, must live in a peaceful environment, where their rights and choices to fulfil their maximum potential, are ensured.  

According to the Executive Director of the National Youth Council, Mr. Lamin Darboe,

“now is the time when Gambian youth will not only claim to be the majority of the population, but will sit to discuss ways they can work towards the future, together.”

He called on the participants, to actively engage in honest conversations, to reach resolutions that will guide government and other duty-bearers, on how to build this place we call home.

In delivering the official opening statement, Dembo Kambi, Chairperson of the National Youth Council, reiterated that,

“peace is vital to our living as Gambians and as citizens of the world, because it has no substitute – peace is the only way.”

He went on to emphasise that, the National Youth Council as an institution, recognises that, their responsibility during this transitional period the country is going through, is to create the space for dialogue, in order to pave the way for peace.

Open discussions, which led to the finalisation of concrete recommendations, where the highlight of the event, and as an outcome of reflection meeting, a Youth Position Paper on Peace and Security in The Gambia will be developed, to be used as a policy brief to inform policy and decision-makers about the concerns of Gambian youth and the need for action, to address potential conflict and promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence in country.