Gambia: IWD - Paradise Foundation, Partners Hold Dialogue On Sexual Exploitation, Drugs Abuse

14 March 2023

Paradise Foundation in partnership with The Gambia Government, Child Protection Alliance, and partners on Thursday staged a national dialogue on the risk of Sexual Exploitation and Drugs Abuse amongst young people in the context of civil works and digital space.

The event, held at a local hotel in Kotu, was part of activities commemorating International Women's Day 2023. This year's dialogue seeks to empower women and girls to make positive choices.

At the event, Ms. Naomi Williams, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, said International Women's Day is set aside by the United Nations to assess the achievements of women and girls and to also review challenges and map a way forward.

Ms. William added that with growing concerns on child protection issues, the government of the Gambia established a children affairs directorate under the Ministry of Gender, which seeks to promote the development of a coalition of efforts in transforming services, providing child attention and development in the country.

Ousai Ceesay, president, Voice of the Young, said one of the opportunities they have as children is the internet and the digital skills that advance their rights for them to learn, play, network and share ideas.

Ms. Ceesay, however, flagged that the irresponsible usage of the internet and digital skills turns those opportunities into serious challenges to children and young people.

"Social media is consuming them by spending more time on it than their books."

Other speakers Louise Jobe and Amie Jatta Njie, both community leaders, advised children to limit the use of the internet and concentrate more on their education.

"In addition, parents and caregivers need to pay a lot of attention to their children, especially those with mobile phones. Instead of utilising the internet for educational purposes, most of the children are out there defeating the purpose of it." Mrs. Jobe stated.

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