analysisBy Madiba Singhateh
In this edition of Future Generation, we will be publishing the National Youth Policy 2009-2018, which we have started publishing in our previous publication. Below is a continuation of the text.
1.1 Introduction and definition of youth the youth of the Gambia make up at least 47% of the population or higher depending on what age cohort is used to defined youth.
However, for the purpose of guiding targeted intervention and by setting measurable objectives toward the general development of the youth, this new policy, just like the old one, defines youth as the cohort of all young Gambian men and women of the population that falls in the age bracket of 13-30 years. Nonetheless, other young men and women, who fall outside this category of age bracket can be included in the programmes and activities of the policy in special circumstance.
The Gambia as a nation continue to invest in its youth for suitable development by ensuring that new policy takes into account the critical issues concerning youth. In addition, the global financial crises coupled with the global food crises makes it imperative the Gambia look inward and especially at investing in its youth in order for the country to have available future without a vision, well educated highly skilled, a heathy and patriotic youth dedicated to serving their nation and taking their citizenship seriously, Gambia will be hard pressed to achieved sustainable development.
With the key goals of empowering young people to be able to harness their potential for self-fulfillment and responsible citizenship, the policy crafts a comprehensive framework for youth development. However, even a casual observation of the situation of young people in the country would reveal that the goals set in the last National Youth Policy 1999-2008 are far from being realised its review gave points to potential new areas of concern that may not have been of relevance during the drafting of the past policy but which now become important and hence need to be addressed in this successor policy.
The National Youth Policy 2009-2018 is a blue point for Gambia youth that will engage them in a serious manner in national development.
The overall objective of this policy in to mobilize youth and get them involved In all aspects of national development. The policy also seeks to empower youth through participation and mentoring. Despite the fact that the youth make up more than half of the population they have limited opportunities for viable employment, education and training, skills development, and access to health and social services. There is also high criminal activity when compared to the rest of society. And it does not help matters that the majority of youth suffer from the Babylon syndrome migration out of the Gambia by any near necessary.
The youth live mostly in the urban area and are more likely to be unemployed. According to the second generation PRSPII/ SPAII in the Gambia, the Gambia has a problem of youth unemployment which is estimated to be at 2% and a majority of them are classified as poor. Gambia male youth more than their female counterparts are more likely to be unemployed lack of livelihood skills, low motivation towards agriculture skill poses a big treat to the development of young people, especially where the incidence of poverty and hunger is high, as in the Gambia.
To be continue