Side By Side Organization (SBSO) The Gambia, a charitable, non-political and non-profit making national youth body on Friday officially launched its 'School Link Programme' at the Latrikunda Upper Basic School, where the initiative is being piloted.
The programme formed part of the organisation's new initiatives of promoting volunteerism among students through education, as well as expose them to the importance of extracurricular activities.
Founded on 4th March 2005 in Bakau Newtown, the organisation, which is a registered national youth organisation operating in three administrative regions in the country; notably West Coast and North Bank Regions, respectively, and the Kanifing Municipality,has since its inception been engaged in community service and empowerment of people through various domains of socio-economic development, with interventions in education, environment and health.
Speaking at the launching, SBSO's national coordinator, Hatab Fadera, said the programme is part of their new initiative of extendingtheir activities at the schools , with a view to engaging students at the upper basic and senior secondary levels on issues of volunteerism and its impact on their academic performance. He underscored that it is important for them to also involve students with a view to enhancing their personal development and expose them to development issues; such as environment and health.
Fadera, a sub-editor at the Daily Observer newspaper, noted that after many good years of active volunteerism and community service, his organisation reviewed its operation and thus came up with a comprehensive three-year strategic plan with clear cut objectives for the attainment of the set targets meant to enhance sustainable livelihood of communities.
"Among the achievements of the organisation over the past seven years are,empowerment of young people in education through our annual scholarship programme, character education, capacity building programmes on child rights issues, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, harmful traditional practices; such as female genital mutilation, environmental sanitation and awareness creation," he indicated.
He described their School Link Programme as important for the students; in that it will enable them widen their knowledge on various development issues. He called on the students to be engaged in extracurricular activities, which he opined would likely discourage them from getting involved in bad habits such as smoking, drugs, drinking or other social vices that pose serious threats to the attainment of their educational goals.
A teacher coordinator for the Link, Demba Kandeh, informed the students that the organisation has since 2005 been rendering support to students across the country. Kandeh commended SBSO for extending its activities at the school level; something he said will contribute to the development ofstudents.
The administration and financial officer of SBSO, Yankuba Senghore, called on the students to join the organisation and benefit from its vast educational programmes.
The occasion was chaired by the project coordinator and acting programme officer of SBSO, Momodou Salieu Sowe, who spoke at length on the achievements of the organisation since inception in 2005.