By MUHHAMMED S. BAH
The national youth chairman of the Central River Region (CRR) who represents the young people of the region at the National youth Council board has called on the new Government through the Ministry of Youths and Sports to create more job opportunities to avert rural- urban and ‘backway’ migration.
The CRR Chairman, Omar Jammeh wishes to take this medium to amplify the voices of the rural youths particularly the youths of CRR.
During an interview with this reporter on Wednesday, 8 February, 2017 through a social media conversation, Mr. Jammeh said “I want to seize this opportunity on behalf of the Regional Youth Committee, CRR and the entire young people and my own behalf to congratulate Hon: Gomez on his appointment as the new Minister of Youth and Sports. However, the youths of CRR are looking forward to engaging young people through your ministry in the process of national development and most importantly youth development”.
According to Mr. Jammeh, the process of youth development in rural Gambia has been in a slow pace over the past decades. He expressed hope that the new Government will revive the decentralisation of youth development by creating friendly policies and laws to address youth problems.
“We want to see multipurpose youth centres including skills centres to promote marketable skills,” he remarked.
The Youth Chairman said several youths have travelled to the urban area in search of greener pasture, others he said travel because of educational purpose.
Mr. Jammeh said the government should look into bringing in higher learning Institutions that are available in the urban areas to avert young people migrating.
He stressed that it is also important for government to invest more into productive agriculture particularly fishing for the young people to have better employment opportunities to avoid going through the “backway”.
“Looking at the river Gambia and fresh water availability, we challenge the Hon Minister to engage young people in integrated agriculture and help us access grants, loans etc. with sensible interest,” he highlighted.
He said as at now there are limited opportunities, noting that the young people of Janjanbureh in November, 2016 were handed over a fibre boat and engine to engage the youths of the area on sustainable fishing.
He said the grant was funded by International Organization on Migration, Gambia office and the project was coordinated by NYC in partnership with RYC, CRR in identifying potential youth group.
“The initiative shall engage about 22 youths under the coordination of Janjanbureh Uniting Sustainable Tourism and Community Training (Just Act Gambia) youth group. The project aims at improving livelihood of youths and creating employment to encourage young people stay within our communities in trying to minimise rural drift, both domestic and international drift,” he underscored.
“Our expectations in the project are high and we are hoping this project will supply Janjanbureh and its surrounding with fresh catches of fish, besides added value to the nutrients of our daily diets. Also, it will help to create employment opportunities and youths to fully realise their contributions to national development in participatory form. Scarcity of fish shall be a thing of the past and will work closely with the community to make fish affordable and accessible at all times,” he said.
Commenting on their challenges, he highlighted storage facilities and mobility in accessing markets.