The State of Preparedness of NAYCONF 2014

With Madiba Singhateh

In this edition of Future Generation, we are featuring an interview with Mr. Lamin MarongLamin Marong, who is the Head of Publicity and Marketing for NAYCONF 2014, a board member of the National Youth Council and the chairman of Kanifing Municipal Youth Committee.

Question: What is the state of preparedness of NAYCONF as at now?

Answer: We are in high gear and at the peak of preparation, as you may know that our budget for NAYCONF 2014 is D4.9 million. We are now working tirelessly as far as marketing and publicity are concern in order to raise this amount or even more. We have put in place some strategies to raise these funds and among them is a gala dinner planned for 6th November, which is just around the corner. We don’t stop there as letters are also written to institutions and companies soliciting financial assistance as part of their corporate social responsibility.

Question: So far how much support have you got from these sources?

Answer: Of course, a very impressive support comes from the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) which gave us D1.9 million for the first time. As we have NAYCONF and pre-NAYCONF activities, the UNDP is supporting all these pre NAYCONF activities, apparently the pre- NAYCONF events. It was the municipalities and regions that were sponsoring their pre-NAYCONF activities but this time round, it is the UNDP which is funding all the regional events.

Question: What have the regions done in the build up to NAYCONF?

Answer: Now there is a new dimension to it starting this year of which two days are dedicated for pre-NAYCONF during which the issues regarding the theme of the NAYCONF are discussed. This process is meant to help participants build their capacities and develop understanding of the issues. This year’s theme is “Youth Entrepreneurship and Sport Development this year” and this needs a lot of discussion around it by young people. The UNDP’s intervention will be taking care of stationery, publication of the official Newsletter, advertisements and 10 radio programmes for a period of nine weeks. Each of these radio programmes will be one hour every week and that all the regions have radio programmes. The other programmes will be coordinated by the National Organizing Committee of NAYCONF. This is the first time we are doing such a thing in order to generate more awareness about NAYCONF. Apart from UNDP, we also got sponsorship from Gamcel/Gamcel which gave us D50,000 and are also sponsoring the event by sending S.M.S to individuals, printing of two billboards, production of 250 T-Shirts, four banners as well as another D5000 which is a different package. UN World Food Programme has given D300, 000. The central government has pledged D1 million, the Immigration Department gave us D10, 000, the Armed and Security Forces gave a cheque for D25, 000. You can see the preparation we are doing towards the NAYCONF and are in higher gear. We are working towards generating D 4.9 million and have so far received D3 million.

Question: Is there any difference between this year’s NAYCONF and the previous ones in terms of preparation and organization?

Answer: Of course, there is a big difference. This time, unlike before, we are going to have beauty pageants organised in all the regions which will then select two from each to participate at the grand NAYCONF pageant. This year’s drama competition is also going to be organised differently in that one has to first write your script and then tender it for marking. You will be required to present a 45 minutes drama performance before the NAYCONF which will be shown in 50 minutes during the actual event. We have masquerades this time round and it is not a ‘you come and participate masquerade’ but that you are coming to tell us what is the meaning of your masquerade. The quiz competition we use to have will be replaced by academic performance in which we will give the participants topics to debate and convince people. There will also be, for the first time, Para Olympic sports. The National Organizing Committee is only providing the opportunity for them to participate but not to compete, as this type of sporting event is not actively taking place in other regions. It is only KM, Banjul and West Coast where you have it.

Question: Is the conference all about sports, or will you be discussing other issues relating to the development of young people and things hindering them?

Answer: Yes, of course, because, the main concept of NAYCONF is the Youth Conference. It is only that some people thought that it is also important to include kids sports and culture. These are additional developments, but the main thrust of NAYCONF is the conference in which young people discuss issues that affect them. We look forward to the resolutions we have after each NAYCONF which we passed to the authorities to implement and we have made many good resolutions at NAYCONF.

To be continue