Gambia: Adequate Policies and Programs Are Required to Address Strategic Needs of Children

17 January 2019

National executive coordinator of Young People in the Media (YPM) has appealed to authorities to establish national policies and programs that would adequately address strategic needs of children, particularly those on streets, disabled, in prisons and female children who are forced into marriages.

Addressing children at the recently concluded holiday camp that brought together 150 children throughout the country in Mansakonko, Abdou Jatta, who is also UNESCO's global youth Ambassador on Media Literacy Information (MIL) said from the camp, he is hopeful that additional research agendas will be developed to address some of the key challenges young people and children are facing.

The ardent youth activist observed that to provide best start in life for children and achieve maximum benefits from the investment in education, a robust Early Childhood Development (ECD) policy will be needed.

Mr. Jatta told the children that their target goal is to increase access to ECD services by 100 percent, saying that it will complement efforts being undertaken in achieving quality, accessible, affordable and free primary education and education for all goals.

He said it is a common knowledge that in The Gambia, children are mostly seen as people without great ideas and that they cannot have a voice to contribute positively towards national building. "These have resulted in adults taking decisions and making choices for and on behalf of children, some of which are sometimes not in their best interest."

He glared on the increase violence against children across the world while poverty and trafficking of children is on the rise. "Conflicts that are prevailing in some countries have placed our children in difficult circumstances as child soldiers, victims of displacement, rape and torture.

He said UNICEF and YPM firmly believes that if they work together, they can make a difference in the lives and well-being of children, saying the legal framework and conducive environment is already in place but the challenge is for them to make it happen by setting up the structures and providing the human, material and financial resources.

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