The Rural Child (RC), a charitable organisation registered under the Companies Act 2013 of The Gambia, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has over the weekend held a two-day sensitization forum on irregular migration for youths and village authorities.
The ceremony was held at Mandinaba Nursery School in the West Coast Region (WCR).
The overall objective of the forum was to sensitize thirty Village Development Committees (VDCs), youth representatives and thirty village authorities to realize the dangers and negative effects irregular migration poses to their socio-economic development.
The forum was also aimed at exposing youth to some of the opportunities that they can access within the country to enable them venture into their own enterprises and exploit local resources to make decent living.
Amadou Jallow, the Coordinator of The Rural Child (RC), said there has been an increase in the number of youths involved in irregular migration in Kombo East.
Jallow said this is due to limited job opportunities and livelihood skills, as well as lack of ideas to tap the untapped resources and make a living out of them. He said the influence from other youths who have embarked on the journey is also a factor.
Jallow said it is against this backdrop that their organisation came up with the project concept titled: "Sensitization of VDC Youth Representatives and Village Authorities on Irregular Migration", aimed at raising the awareness of youths and village authorities (Alkalolu) in Kombo East District on the dangers and negative effects of irregular migration on their socio-economic wellbeing.
"Our last year findings within the district has shown that about eighty hundred young people, including boys, men and young women have embarked on the journey between 2018 and 2020," he said.
He said the findings also indicated that less than four (4) percent of them had acquired jobs within the first year of their arrival, while some were never heard by their families and friends since they left the shores of The Gambia.
Other speakers at the event included Saikou Suwareh Jabbai from IOM, Amadou Ceesay of WCR Youths Committee, and the Alkalo of Mandinaba Village, Sunkary Sonko.
All of them emphasized the dangers associated with the "back-way" journey and urged the Government to help youths by creating joy opportunities and skills for them to make ends meet and chuck up the idea of taking the back-way journey.