The Point (Banjul)

31 January 2013

Gambia: U.S. Embassy Launches Generation Change Gambia Chapter

The US Embassy in Banjul on Tuesday launched its Generation Change in The Gambia at a ceremony held at Tango conference hall in Kanifing.

Generation Change Gambia, managed in partnership with TANGO, is a chapter of US State Department's Generation Change initiative - a youth-driven global network dedicated to fostering the next generation of innovators and leaders in youth communities around the world.

The project's activities include training of network members, supporting of member projects that foster the aims and objectives of the chapter and building of the global Generation Change.

Speaking at the launching, US Ambassador Edward M. Alford thanked the Public Affairs staff at the embassy for initiating this important project in The Gambia and commended Tango for the partnership.

He said that generally, over 50% of the world population is under the age of 30, noting that in The Gambia 65% to 70% of the population is also under the age of 30.

"Generation Change is meant to create a space of great young people across various disciplines to come together and to create ides," said Ambassador Alford.

He told the young people that the Generation Change initiative in The Gambia and around the world represents not just the present but also the future.

"Working together here and connecting with young leaders around the world you have the capacity to ensure a dynamic, diverse and a prosperous future," the US diplomat said, challenging the youth that the future is in their hands.

However, Ambassador Alford made it clear to the youth that they at the embassy would not tell them what projects to work on as they are now part of the Generation Change.

"We are not going to tell you what to do; what we have done and will continue to do is to create a platform, space to communicate with your peers throughout the world. People comprised of various Generation Change Chapters throughout the world are young people like you with innovative ideas and interested in marking a positive contribution to the planet," the US Ambassador disclosed.

He also said he was looking forward to witnessing ideas from the Gambian chapter the years to come as well as hoping to read and see their legacy.

Yankuba Yabo, TANGO executive coordinator, said what they are able to do is to create an environment conducive for interactions and sharing ideas.

Mr Yabo echoed similar sentiments, saying the future is in their hands and should make use of the opportunity.

Madi Jorbateh congratulated members of the Generation Change Gambia for being the first pioneers.

He urged them to dedicate themselves to it as a lot is expected from them.

Shahed Amanullah, from the US, senior adviser at the office of the special representative to the Muslim community had a daylong session with the cohort members of Generation Change Gambia.

He told the youth that they are like any generation before them and probably like any generation after them, saying they are also part of the global community of young leaders.

The project is not to tell the youth what to do but to give or share ideas with them to become better leaders in their communities, which will make everyone proud of them.

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