Cherno Omar Bobb
The National Youth Council (NYC) on Tuesday launched its Youth Peace Security Situation Room and Online Radio at its office in Kanifing.
The platform, supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) through the Peace Building Fund will ensure all security alerts are monitored across the country. It will be managed by young people (Regional Monitors) to ensure timely and adequate information on security alerts and challenges are reported and acted upon.
The situation room and online radio will serve as a one stop information center for security alerts across the country as it will cover both situation and incident reports of peace and security issues related to young people through an online dash board.
The reports gathered through the platform will help NYC and its development partners to document and prepare policy briefs and advisory services on youth 1ssues relating to peace and security situation and early warning crisis response in real time manner.
Furthermore, the online radio will also create the opportunity for young people within the platforms to share ideas and best practices, promote peace, stability and social cohesion as well as serve as medium for the plight of the entire youth community across the country.
The youth radio will also serve as a strong tool in amplifying the voices of young people in maintaining peace, social cohesion, positive messaging and building resilience against violence including hate speech.
The early warning crisis center through a network of monitors across the country will identify potential conflict triggers, disinformation and hate speech within hot spot areas and serve as an early warning mitigation mechanism.
The development of a state of the art software on early-warming indicators will facilitate efficient response to conflict and crisis situations in a timely manner in order to enable the development of appropriate response strategies for the prevention of potential conflicts.
Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA Country Representative described the setting up of the youth-led platform as timely, especially as we approach the electoral period.
He added that the youthful population of The Gambia which is at 60% makes young people critical stakeholders and remain the most important demographic of the country in terms of their numbers and ability to author and influence the transition in stabilizing or destabilizing ways.
He stated that despite their limited representation and inclusion, young people have been agents of change in The Gambia.
“Sustaining peace is a shared task and responsibility which needs deliberate consistent, and concerted efforts from all parties and actors at all times. This however, cannot take place if duty bearers and right-holders do not create safe spaces for social engagement,” he also said.
He noted that a participatory, inclusive, national-ownership-driven approach is required in the pursuit of a more inclusive and integrated approach to sustaining peace and addressing the root causes of conflict, debunking hate speech, misinformation and disinformation especially through the inclusion and participation of young people and marginalized groups in all terms of the governance and decision making processes.
Musa Mbye, Deputy Permanent Secretary Technical, Ministry of Youth and Sports in deputizing for his minister said peace, security and stability are the foundation of any democracy and development in a society. He added that the launch of the platform could not have come at any other time other than now as we have security challenges within our communities.
Mr Mbye expressed Government commitment to the development of young people, adding that it recognizes the crucial role young people can play in the maintenance of peace and stability. DPS Mbye also thanked UNFPA for the support.