15 December 2012

Gambia: Young People Speak Out

As part of the assignment to sound the views of the young people regarding issues that affect them, this column has interviewed many young people from different backgrounds who express opinions on different issues.

Kebab Ansu Manneh a cook by profession and part-time writer informs this columnist that he attended Kaur Lower, Upper and Senior Secondary Schools,

and did his WASSCE exams and proceeded to Gambia hotel school, then to Institute for Traveling and Tourism ITOG as well as IPAM, where he got a diploma in computing, traveling and tourism management.

When asked what he is up to at this moment; he said at this moment he do report time to time and do some cooking contracts to earn his living.

Mr. Manneh told this reporter that he lives with his wife and young daughter. When asked what his opinion is regarding the situation of youths at the moment, he said that there are youths out there who are doing something meaningful but he said for others it may be financial reasons that is deterring them from participation in social activities.

Manneh assumption is that some young people may not be advantaged, because there is no help coming their way that can help enhance them, but said if that's the case, the society also has an obligation to make them productive.

"The government too has a greater stake 'if you look at the unemployment rate of youths in the society and for that reason they should forge strong relationship with serious investors who could remedy the situation by employing the Gambians youths", said Manneh.

Mr Manneh asserted that government should also create avenues where young people can be able to work, but in the same vein he said the young people should also be innovative and creative in the sense that they can start thinking of something, like doing masonry other things to enhance their skills development. They should also be able to help themselves to be followed by government's intervention as they must be ready to learn skills, he opined.

Mr. Manneh warned youths to move away from false illusion that they want to go to Europe or Babylon. He said that is not the solution as he said even in Europe there is economic crisis which he said should be an eye opener for African youths. "We can transform the slums into something and can make it here provided that we are ready to work." he opined.

When put to him what he thinks is the solution to this, he said the solution he believes could be by taking all necessary actions and the intervention of the private sector, public sector are quite important as they should be in control of the seat to create youth employment cohort for youth in the ghettoes and the vous.

Abdoulie Jawara, attended SOS Hermann Gmeiner Senior Secondary School and MDI, Management development Institute and then to UTG studying radiology at University of the Gambia on sponsorship. Jawara said at this moment apart from schooling he did not engage in any permanent job because he cannot secure a job for himself. When the same question was put to him regarding the youths that they are not ready to work, he said that if you see youths are sitting down, may be they do not have any jobs. "That's the reason for their sitting down in vous. He said he believes that every youth is born to be something in life, most importantly to have something in society which can make him/her able to look high up.

He said he likes drinking attaya after his studies but said may be his colleagues don't have anything to do, that's why they are sitting down. He said sitting down always make you lazy but youths who do that don't have any meaningful work for themselves which they think can help them.

He expressed opinion that they may be sitting down but that does not mean that they don't want anything in life or that they are lazy. "Maybe they are lazy because of the environment they found themselves which also have great impact on each individual's life", Opined Jawara.

Mr Jawara said what he thinks is the solution is that the government of the Gambia and the private sector should create more jobs for them and more importantly create factories because Gambia has a growing population of young people who should be future leaders. So he said they should look up to their concerns.

Jawara advised young people to try and engage into something. He said as for him he loves those kinds of youths who want to succeed and he knows all the youths in the world want to succeed and asked which Gambian youth is an exemption. Jawara said he wishes good luck for those who want to go abroad if there is any possible means for them but advised that let them bear in mind that abroad is much harder than Africa and they should be ready to work and suffer as he believes that to live is to suffer and to survive is to find meaning in that suffering.

Also speaking to is Alieu Kujabi working for rural finance as data pick up; that he went to GTTI after completing his primary, junior and senior secondary schools in the Gambia. Alieu said if you look at the life pertaining to youths in the country you found out that the number of youths in the country that graduated and have employment might be only 2% percent or less. He said youths need help to engage in skillful work and help to acquire them. He said they also need to acquire something for themselves which can benefit them in the long run.

When put to him that most young people always say that they want to go OUT and what is his opinion on that, he said his advise on that is that he has nothing against it but what he knows is that going to foreign countries is not easy; that you have to prepare well both physically, mentally and more so economically, but if they can't go through right channels, let them not try the back way because they should go and risk their lives, he said.

On the issue of laziness, Alieu said that not all youths are lazy but among them there are others who are lazy who think government has to do all for them. When put to him that perhaps they don't have the kind of job they want, he agreed that there are lack of job opportunities so when they don't have what they desire, they should engage in some other activities which he thinks could be good for them.

Meeting up with a 22 young man who prefers to be annonymous because he feels that he could be arrested, a situation this reporter normally faced when doing this type of interview with young people, said for him all he knows is he wants to travel because that's what he thinks is the solution for him. He said he was working before at the hotel and when the season closed he had to wait for the next season which probably depends because sometimes he may not be recalled, a situation he is now facing.

When asked for his opinion that it is often said even in the television that youths are lazy, this young man opined that those people uttering that do not understand what they are saying. "Let them provide employment for them and see whether they will find any one sitting down", charged the young man. He added that they don't create anything for youths and they are blaming them, that is unfair, he opined.

When put to him that there are institutions like MDI and GTTI and others, he said he preferred to travel than attending those institutions which cannot guarantee you a job after paying all those moneys to them. "Look how many of them attended those institutions and how many of them secured a job", the anonymous young man asked.

He finally said that the country is really hard; that everything is expensive; that even to buy a proper breakfast is a problem more so a good lunch and dinner. How can one have that when there is no opportunity for people, that's why people sacarifice their lives to look for greener pastures and they are saying that people should not travel when thee is no means of employment or good life for them. If they don't want people to travel why not create thousands of jobs for the youth", he asked.

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