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National Youth Parliament Convenes First Ordinary Session

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Honourable Omar Cham, Speaker of the National Youth Parliament presiding over the first ordinary session on 29th August 2022 (Photo: Kexx)

By Ramatoulie Jawo

The National Youth Parliament (NYP) Monday convened its first ordinary session at the National Assembly chambers in Banjul.

The session discussed important issues affecting the lives of the young people of The Gambia.

Honourable Omar Cham, Speaker of the National Youth parliament said that the journey towards the moment was not an easy one. 

“It was marked with endless sacrifice, dedication and perseverance as we took up the commitment to deliver to the young people of The Gambia a new face,” he stated.

NYP Speaker urged government, partners and donors to not let the “new” spirit of youth involvement in governance die.

“We therefore, call on the Government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports through the National Youth Council, partners, and donor agencies, to not let the new spirit of youth involvement in governance die. We call on these important institutions to nurture, support and guide the National,”  Cham said.

Speaker Cham then thanked the National Assembly Membership and leadership for providing them all the support, facilities and guidance needed to reach this great milestone.

The event was graced by the UNDP country representative, Minister of Youth and Sports, the founder of National Youth Parliament, among others. 

Bakery Y. Badjie, Minister of Youth and Sports said the National Youth Parlament has been one of the oldest existing youth associations that despite the challenges of  running youth focused organization in the country  continue to recruit, nurture talents and build skills of young people from a backgrounds and regions of the country.

“We will continue  to engage and listen you this is an undeniable right that you have as youths of this country, and a duty that we as public servant (Ministers, National Assembly Directors etc) have towards you,” he told.

“It is their resilience and continued quest to empower young people to play their role in national development that us at the Ministry of Youth and Sports through the National Youth Council never hesitates to collaborate with them our common good of raising awareness about issues confronting young people, build capacities of young people, empower communities and advocate for the participation of young people in the political and governance process,” he said.

The minister assured the youth parliament that they would continue to engage with them as much as necessary and further strengthen their collaborative work in all areas of concern to the youth

constituency that they professionally and voluntarily serve.

“We will continue to engage and listen you this is an undeniable right that you have as youths of this country, and a duty that we as public servant (Ministers, National Assembly Directors etc) have towards you,” he told.

UNDP country representative, Aisata De said in young democracies like The Gambia, young people play a role in shaping the politics and future of their country.

“The Youth Parliament allows Gambian youth to learn about, whilst also engaging with their local representatives and the entire political system. Moreover, positioning youth at the centre of decision-making is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equity, and social justice,” she said.

UNDP country representative added that in The Gambia, empowering young women to become leaders across all domains from the community to the parliament would be transformational for the country.

She said with increasing demand for civic engagement, accountability, and transparency all over the world, the Youth Parliament provides a strategic opportunity to enhance participation of young Gambians in political discourse.

The founder of the NYP, Sambujang conteh said their mission is to build a better Gambia with effective participation of informed and capacitized young people contributing to national development, through

principle-centered leadership development and advocacy.

He concluded that the NYP is a representative advocacy network of young people, established in 2002 as a project on “Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health and Rights”.

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