The National Youth Council of The Gambia in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other strategic partners are setting the stage for organizing the second Edition of the Youth Connekt Gambia summit in September 2022.
Organized by the National Youth Council under the patronage of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Summit is funded by the UN Peace-Building Fund through UNDP.
It’s scheduled to take place from 15th – 17th September 2022 at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre. Due to Covid restrictions, the Summit will take the hybrid format for larger participation (face-to-face and virtual participation).
The summit that is expected to bring together 200 young people and stakeholders is aims at mobilise youth and youth development actors to actively participate and support the implementation of National Development Plan, AU Agenda 2063, National Youth Policy 2019 – 2028 and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
It’s also meant to encourage policy dialogue, programme harmonization and partnership to achieve the Goals of Youth Connekt Africa in the Gambia and inspire and galvanize support for Youth Connekt activities in the Gambia.
The 2nd edition of National Youth Connekt Gambia Summit will take a special look at the goals domesticated since the inaugural Summit in 2019; assess the successes, challenges, and opportunities for accelerating the implementation.
Since the launch of the initiative The Gambia in 2019, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, National Youth Council, UNDP and have initiated and rolled out the flagship programmes linked to the various goals of Youth Connekt.
“We rolling out Youth Creative Lab to support young people to put their ideas into practice and offer solutions to some of our societal challenges. One central lab (was) launched and operational. The lab since launched offered space to more than 1,000 young leaders, entrepreneurs and startups to connect, innovate, learn and co-create,” said Basiru Jaye, Focal Person, Youth Connekt Gambia Summit.
He added that the council is also rolling out a Youth Internship Programme. The pilot initiative will create direct employment for 200 people to be mentored by professionals in their fields of specialization and learn on the job.
“The Summit intends to inspire the youths to act as Agents of Change and mobilize partners to support and empower youth innovation across the country for socio-economic growth and building back better,” he said.
For better harmonization and coordination, he explained the Summit will bring together relevant Government ministries and stakeholders to review, discuss, and strategies on how to achieve Youth Connekt Gambia goals and align to the Sahel Youth Connekt goals, National Development Plan (NDP), National Employment Policy 2021 -2026 & National Employment Action Plan 2021 – 2025, National Youth Policy 2019 – 2028 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Summit will take the format of open dialogue, panel presentations, breakout discussions, exhibition, creative and talents display on.
The Youth Connekt Initiative was launched in 2012 by the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the overall goal of engaging young people in all spheres of nation building including enhancing their own (economic) empowerment.
The convergence also aims to provide African youth with the skills, networks and information needed to scale their initiatives and gain meaningful employment.
The Gambia was among the pioneer (six) countries in Africa to launch Youth Connekt programme in October 2018, and currently 21 Member States have launched the programme with many others are in the process of implementing / scaling up the model
The model was endorsed by the African Union as a major implementing modality of the African Youth Charter, and equally has been embraced by a good number of AU Member States for its innovative design and implementation, Policy harmonization, harnessing Programmes and Partnership within the country or nations.
By Sulayman Ceesay, MoYS