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With the financial support of the UN Peace Building Fund, UNESCO Dakar, in partnership with the Global Youth Innovation Network – Gambia Chapter (GYIN Gambia), has trained youth leaders in The Gambia on conflict transformation and peacebuilding.

The three-day capacity-building workshop which ended on Wednesday, 23rd February, was aimed at equipping youth leaders with skills to play a more proactive role in creating a culture of sustainable peace in The Gambia, following more than two decades of dictatorship and suppression which ended in 2016.

A total of 50 youth leaders from different national and regional associations across The Gambia were trained in various aspects of conflict transformation and peacebuilding such as Conflict Analysis Skills in Peacebuilding; Approaches in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding; Mobilizing for Change; Advocacy for Conflict Resolution; Communication and Conflict Handling Skills, and Dealing with Prejudices and Discrimination.

All the sessions were so interactive.  All the messages delivered were clear.  The training was so participatory,” said Isatou K Jallow, vice-chairperson of the Regional Youth Committee of Upper River Region.

The knowledge I gained from this training will help me, and I know my colleagues as well, to further propagate peace; it will help us to manage conflict because if the conflict is well managed, it can be positive and could lead to peace.

Isatou K Jallow, vice-chairperson of the Regional Youth Committee of the Upper River Region

According to Ms. Jallow, they will make sure the knowledge gained from the training is disseminated in their respective communities through step-down training.

The training is so good and I think more and more young people and communities should benefit and that is only possible through step-down training,” she affirmed.

Muhammed Hakim J Jallow, focal person of the Regional Youth Committee of Central River Region, reiterated the importance of the training in addressing the vulnerabilities of young people in The Gambia.

I learned how to ensure there is peace among ourselves as young people and this is important because nowadays the youth are the most vulnerable when it comes to politics. On a personal level, I know with this training I can fully and confidently say I will not be an agent for violence, but instead, I will be an agent for peace.

Muhammed Hakim J Jallow, focal person of the Regional Youth Committee of the Central River Region

As a member of the Regional Youth Committee, Mr. Jallow assured the commitment of the committee to organize a series of activities or include some of the modules from this peace training into the training that the committee has outlined for this year.

Mamud Now, GYIN Gambia coordinator in North Bank Region, noted that his region is highly affected by communal conflicts, particularly on land-related issues.

But now I could use the knowledge I gained here to play a part in managing the conflict and building peace in the communities. I know conflict transformation and peace building are not easy things; they are processes that take time. But when you know the ways and the strategies to use, you can achieve greatness.

Mamud Ndow, GYIN Gambia coordinator in North Bank Region.

Fanta BS Manneh, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior said the training of youth on conflict transformation and peacebuilding builds on existing capabilities for peacebuilding and conflict prevention within the families, communities, and regions.

Such training, she noted, also drives national dialogue and consultation for building peace and prevention of violent conflicts in societies.

Mamadou Edrissa Njie, Executive Director of GYIN Gambia, said the training was directly addressing gaps that were identified during a training needs and organizational capacity assessment of 50 youth organizations from across The Gambia.

From the assessment report, a training manual was developed with modules that were designed to equip participants with the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to play their rightful roles and responsibilities in the broader scheme of achieving sustainable peace in their respective communities.

Mamadou Edrissa Njie, Executive Director of GYIN Gambia

The assessment and the development of the training manual as well as the delivery of the training were part of a Peace Building Fund project entitled ‘Young Women and Men as Stakeholders in Ensuring Peaceful Democratic Processes and Advocates for the Prevention of Violence and Hate Speech’.  It is being implemented by UNDP, UNFPA, and UNESCO in The Gambia.

Part of the objectives of the project is to enhance youth participation in governance and peaceful democratic processes and strengthen capacities as advocates against hate speech to prevent violence.

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