The British High Commission hosted a reception to mark the 95th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the 69th year since she succeeded to the Throne. This year we pay tribute to and celebrate the life and legacy of His Royal Highness, Prince Philp, and The Duke of Edinburgh.
One achievement of which he was most proud was the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Having reached millions of young people in more than 160 countries and territories over the past 65 years, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award has been helping young people to develop essential skills such as adaptability, resilience, confidence and problem solving for generations.
The Gambia was one of the first countries to which the The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award was extended. Now known as the President's International Award but remaining a close partner of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. In her remarks, His Excellency the British High Commissioner to The Gambia, David Belgrove OBE, spoke of how the UK through the High Commission is working with young Climate advocates and the government to tackle the effects of Climate Change and develop solutions for environmental resilience.
The High Commissioner said the elections in December will be a milestone in consolidating the democratic gains made over the recent years. While urging participants to work for peaceful, fair and transparent elections, he reminded the guests that democracy can never be taken for granted.
He also stressed the participation of women in the electoral and political process is vital to ensure that process is credible.
"This is an important year for The Gambia, The elections in December will be a milestone in consolidating the democratic gains made over recent years. International events constantly remind us that democracy can never be taken for granted and must be constantly protected and nurtured. Good elections are as much a state of mind as they a process. I urge all participants to work for peaceful, fair and transparent elections. We, along with our other international partners stand ready to help in whatever way we can.
As one of this year's gender champions, I must stress that participation of women in the electoral and political process is vital to ensure the process' credibility. I encourage all stakeholders to ensure increased participation of women in the electoral and political process. The most successful countries in the world are those where women's equality are paramount. A country will never reach its full potential until it ensures that women have equal rights and opportunity in all walks of life. I was pleased on arriving here to learn that at least 50% of our prestigious Chevening scholarships have gone to women in recent years, some of those scholars are here today. I was delighted to tour recently the trade fair and see so many stalls operated by young women entrepreneurs who had been through the ITC's SheTrades programme, to which the UK is a major funder. A successful vibrant economy is one where women play an equal role.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year's event is scaled back in order to adhere to the social distancing rules. However, the High Commissioner expressed delight to be able to host his first QBP in The Gambia and looks forward to cementing and growing UK-Gambia friendship in the coming years.