"Dole Ndawi", a Gambian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) registered in January 2020, has mapped out its plan to empower Gambian youth through music.
"Dole Ndawi" is a Wolof word which literally means "The strength of the youth".
The NGO is the brainchild of a Gambian singer, song writer, guitarist and peace ambassador who goes by the music name Nazeem and one Dr. Vicki Doyle, a global health specialist and director of capacity development international.
According to Nazeem, "Dole Ndawi" is a dynamic NGO which engages directly with young people to foster their development.
He and his team are set to launch a project themed "What's The future/We Want Our Leaders To Involve Young People" to empower the country's youth.
"We do this through the transformative power of music, using it as a catalyst to stimulate an empowered, self-confident and healthy community of young people who can support each other and participate positively and contribute constructively to a vibrant society in The Gambia," he said.
Nazeem added that in May 2020, they signed an MoU with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) to support in-school youth development through music.
He stated that their objectives are to bring youth together through concerts and festivals to encourage dialogue for better decision making towards a vibrant society in the Gambia.
"Secondly, to support youth through workshops so that they can find local solutions to their problems and to increase mutual understanding and build bridges between youth and government authorities. Third, to create opportunities for international exchange and peer support between youth," he said.
"This week, "Dole Ndawi" will launch its school, radio and music tour and we will be visiting up to 10 schools in region 2, West Coast Region, under the directorship of Mr Lamin Fatajo which will include youth dialogue."
Nazeem said they will also launch an inter-school competition for youth age 16 and above called "My Life, My Future."
Entrants will be asked to describe how they see their future in Gambia and the changes they want to see through writing a verse to a song or rap, short stories, poems or through a photo story.
Mr. Lamin Fatajo, Head of Communications "Dole Ndawi", said their purpose is to spread messages across the country for youth to benefit and carve out their potentials, saying 'there are potentials and talents in our youth but they are hidden'.
"We are reaching out to the youth through music because we understand that so many people listen to music, if you give a positive message, you expect a positive feedback, so we are targeting the youth so that we can shape the mindset of young people through methods they can use to survive," he said.