Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sohm Youth Embrace Democratic Youth Reforms

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By: Alieu Jallow

The youth of Sohm village in the Kombo East district have stepped up to embrace democratic youth reforms by electing their first-ever Youth Association on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

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This significant milestone was attended by the National Assembly Member for Kombo East, Abdou Sowe, the newly elected Village Development Committee Chairperson, Foday Badjie, the Alkalo, the ward Councillor for Giboro, Ousman Bah, the district youth association, community elders, and the youth of the village.

In his address, Abdou Sowe NAM for Kombo East urged the newly elected youth leaders to be resilient, embrace criticism, and be committed to serving their community with dedication, as the transformation of the village is vested in their shoulders.

Sowe tasked the newly elected youth to initiate programs and activities geared towards development, emphasizing that they shouldn’t rely on donations and grants.

“Task yourself to initiate your activities. You can start from nowhere and end up somewhere, but if you wait for donations and project proposals to come forward, you will be lazy. Take initiative from the natural resources that God has given you,” he emphasized.

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Hon. Sowe urged the young people to utilize their youthful energy and talent to effect change in their community.

On his part, Ousman Bah, the ward Councillor, emphasized the importance of youth structures within his ward, noting that they helped unite them to propose refined initiatives that enhance sustainable development. Bah pledged to support the youth of Sohm through some of the existing funds within his purview once the newly elected youth association opens a bank account.

“Once you open your account, just let me know, and I will give you the money. But I will not give you money if you don’t have that account because I don’t give such an amount to an individual,” Bah clarified, “My doors are open as the chair of the youth and sport committee of the Area council.”

The newly elected Village Development Committee chairperson, Foday Badjie, said the village is undergoing reform processes, and the formulation of a Youth Association was key among their reform agendas, cognizant of the youth’s contribution to national development. As such, his Committee has reserved a seat within his executive for the youth.

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Badjie, a development specialist working with Child Fund The Gambia, stressed that development cannot be achieved in the absence of unity, urging the youth to collaborate and develop a strategic plan that the VDC can support.

“We want to encourage a lot of dialogue, stakeholders meetings, and other things that will emerge from the youths. We promise to build your capacity in any form, but you have to unite. If you fail to, it leads to problems. So, we treat you equally within the VDC to discuss ways forward,” Badjie assured.

Abdoulie Njie, the district youth chairperson, expressed delight at the milestone, citing the struggles he and his team have endured to initiate such a structure in the village. He recommended that the youth executive refrain from politics, especially partisan politics, as it jeopardizes their integrity.

“You can have the party you support in mind, but when you identify yourself as the youth chairperson on any platform, political parties might bring disunity. So, we have to be careful,” Njie outlined.

This is the first time in the history of the village that the youth have united to formulate such a body. The village, which recently underwent leadership turmoil, is making significant progress after the Brikama area Council’s intervention in the election of a new village development Committee following the previous VDC’s failure to call for a Congress after their tenure expired two years ago. The new Committee’s reform agendas gave birth to the newly elected Youth Association, setting trails for more sustainable development.

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