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The Gambian Chapter of Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) with support from the United Nations (UN) Peace-building Fund (PBF), the Government of the Gambia, and UNESCO-Dakar has commended a three-day capacity-building training for the second batch of youth leaders, centering on ‘Conflict Transformation and Peace-building.

Mrs. Fanta Samateh-Manneh, Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) at the Ministry of Interior, in addressing the opening ceremony, said that the conflict transformation and peace-building concept of development reflect all efforts mobilized from the individual women and men, communities, and institutional levels, to serve as actors fostering cooperative advocacy, and practice for peace, security, and stability, within the cultural and democratic values of rule of law.

“The scope of conflict transformation really recognizes participation and involvement of youth folk as a significant approach to the modern-day peace building and democratic transitional practices in the Gambia.  Thus, to build peace, requires a network of interdependent systems, resources, values, and skills gathered by government, including civil society, communities, institutions, and development partners”, the DPS stated.

The Executive Director of GYIN-Gambia, Mr. Mamadou Edrisa Njie, informed them that the training is designed to address the identified needs of youth organizations in various aspects of conflict resolution and peace building, such as conflict analysis skills in Peacebuilding, and approaches to conflict resolution. It’s also aimed at mobilizing for Change, advocacy for conflict resolution, communication and conflict handling skills, and dealing with prejudices and discrimination.

Njie reminded the audience that GYIN Gambia is a national youth network that focuses on rural development since its inception, and currently, the organization has a membership of more than 2,000, including Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and individual members. He added that GYIN Gambia works with young people across the country in the areas of training, coaching, and mentoring on different themes including entrepreneurship, leadership and empowerment, and advocacy.

Executive Director Njie went on to highlight that the network has, within the past three years, undertaken programs such as Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Information Technology (ELIT), Rural Youth Award (RYA), Business Advisory Services, and Coaching and Mentoring.

“At the end of these three days of training, participants will be able to examine and analyze their current level of competency within the broad themes of conflict prevention and peace-building; tolerance and advocacy for respect of diversity and divergence, and social cohesion and community participation,” the Network’s Gambia Chapter boss opined.

Addressing the gathering, the Executive Director of the National Youth Council (NYC), Mr. Alhagie Jarjue stressed that peace continues to be a precious commodity in the sub-region and world at large. Lamenting a series of conflicts in the past decade, he elucidated: “This conflict happens as a result of political, economic and social reasons. Thousands of youth lost their lives through violence. Many are behind bars because of violence.”

Jarjue continued that “no country can develop if its youth are not trained on how to manage and avert conflict”; and vowed they would continue to advocate for dialogue as a substitute for violence, as he lauded the training on conflict transformation and peace-building as a “commendable course”.

While thanking the young people of the Gambia for keeping the country safe during the 4th December, 2021 Presidential election, the NYC Chair still enjoined them to maintain utmost decorum. And, as the country gears up for the April National Assembly elections, Jarjue used the occasion to encourage the youth folk to contest the legislative election (as candidates), and also vie for other political positions.

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