columnBy Amadou Jallow
The Gambia National Youth Council (NYC) was established by the government of The Gambia in the year 2000 through an act of parliament.
Apart from coordinating, planning, programming, monitoring and evaluating all youth programmes, projects and activities, the National Youth Council (NYC) as an autonomous body, is equally mandated by an Act of the National Youth Council to advise government on all youth matters in The Gambia. The NYC consists of seven municipal and regional chairpersons, a female representative, director of Youth and Sports and an executive secretary, who serves as the secretary to the Council and also heads the Council with a staff capacity of a programme manager, programme assistant, finance and administrative officer, finance assistant, secretary, office assistant, three youth volunteers, cleaner and two drivers.
Each chairperson heads a Municipal/Regional Youth Committee (RYC), which comprises district representatives, a female representative and representatives of the governor/mayor and the area council. The youth officers/coordinators posted to the regions by the Department of Youth and Sports are currently serving as secretaries to municipalities or Regional Youth Committees. The Council also helps to enable the popular participation of all youth in national development.
The Gambia National Youth Council has a wide range of objectives, which include the effective and efficient functioning of the Regional and Municipal Youth Committees and youth organizations.
The Council also has the objective of creating room for youth empowerment, thus enabling them to manage their own affairs without too much outside interference.
The Gambia National Youth Council consists of a national chairperson, seven regional/municipal youth chairpersons elected by the youth of that particular administrative area, a female representative, the director of Youth and Sports, co-opted members and the executive secretary of the Council. This is the Council/Board that makes policy decisions for implementation by the secretariat.
The Council is served by a secretariat headed by the executive secretary. The secretariat is the administrative arm responsible for implementing programmes and policy decisions.
Functions of the Council:
a) Organise and co-ordinate youth programmes, policies and provide guidelines for the orientation of youth organisations with the view of harmonizing various youth operations in the Gambia.
b) Conduct research on youth development.
c) Monitor the implementation of the National Youth Policy of government and decisions of the National Youth Conference.
d) Mobilise resources for youth development;
e) Work closely with charitable organizations involved in youth work or activities.
f) Organize youth conferences and festivals.
g) Promote networking with other national youth bodies and youth organisations abroad.
h) Plan and implement national youth programmes;
i) Maintain a data bank on youth organizations and activities in the country.
j) Register national youth organizations.
k) Determine the fees for the registration of youth organizations.
l) Supervise the operations of the Regional/municipal youth committees; and
m) Carry out such other functions that may be desired in furtherance of the objectives of the council.
Youth activities and programmes are carried out in the seven administrative areas spread across The Gambia. The headquarter is situated at the Independence Stadium, Bakau. Each administrative centre is under the responsibility of a regional/municipal youth committee, headed by a chairperson. It operates in a decentralized structure whereby each region/municipality is responsible for its own funds management and day to day operations.
The headquarter only gives directives and monitors their activities. The headquarter is also the central authority when dealing with the government and the various agencies.
Registration of youth organisations:
The registration of youth organisations is classified into two different categories:
National Youth Organisations
These are youth organisations operating in at least three (3) or more regions/municipalities. A registration fee of D1000.00 and an annual subscription fee of D500.00 are paid by all registered youth groups/associations. National Youth Organisations are registered at the National Youth Council Secretariat at the Independence Stadium, Bakau.
Local Youth Organisations
These are youth organisations operating within one or two Regions/Municipalities or operating within a specific locality. These groups register with the Regional/Municipal Youth Committee(s) at the respective regions. These organizations pay a registration fee of D500.00 and an annual subscription of D250.00. For registration at Regional level, the Youth assistants at the Governor's Offices are responsible.
"Invest in youth now for a greater future," is the motto of the Gambia National Youth Council, which is binding upon every young people to respect. This motto also calls on stakeholders, such as the government and parents to respect and invest in the cause of young people for a sustainable and successful future. As young people constitute about 60% of our population and the fact that they are the most resilient proportion of our population, shows that there is need for action to improve the plight of the youth of this country.
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