Daily Observer website. A week-long training course organised by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe in the framework of the Youth Partnership between the Council of Europe and the EU in cooperation with the Africa Institute of South Africa, the European Youth Forum and the Pan African Youth Union was held from 23-30 May 2010 at the University of Limpopo in Johannesburg, South Africa. The course, which was attended by close to 30 participants from youth organisations from Africa and Europe was aimed among other things, at strengthening the individual and organisational capacities and skills for youth participation in development and youth leadership; and to develop a common understanding of the situations and challenges faced by young people in Africa and Europe.
The National Youth Parliament (NYP) was represented by Hon Ousman Conteh, the speaker for the Banjul Youth Parliament (BYP) who also doubles as the Programmes officer of NYP.
Hon. Conteh in an interview with this paper, expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the North South of the Council Of Europe in the framework of the Youth Partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Union in co-operation with the Africa Institute of South Africa and their partners for selecting him to participate in the course. He said the training reinforced opportunities for co-operation and dialogue between societies in Europe and Africa and acquainted the participants with the framework of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership; and also served as a preparatory moment and consultation towards the 2nd Africa Europe Youth Summit scheduled to take place in November 2010, Likely in Tripoli. Libya.
“The training further acquired us the know-how on concepts and challenges of youth work, youth rights (e.g. African Youth Charter, its implementation and polarisation), youth policies and institutions in the two regions; namely the Pan African Youth Union and the European Youth Forum to reflect upon topics of importance to strengthen active citizenship of young people in the two continents and to live through an intercultural experience with the opportunity of learning about each other and encountering local realities to synergised efforts to promote solidarity and integration with the view of responding to challenges facing youth development in Africa and Europe,” he remarked.
He continued: “The major highlights of the training were development of a declaration which reflects on common issues of interest to partners in consolidating the earlier earns on the partnership. The issues include; the youth participation and mobility, through enhancing more financial allocations to the National Youth Councils and create joint funding mechanism to support youth projects in both Africa and Europe, MDGs, good governance and democracy, unemployment, youth and illegal migration.”
The Youth Speaker further revealed that as part of the objectives of the training package, participants were given the opportunity to develop concrete projects with their counterparts, thus, the National Youth Parliament has developed exchange programmes with their Swiss counterparts to address issues such as inter-cultural changes, illegal migration, capacity building trainings, promote the MDGs especially to develop a global partnership in development, development of tool kits, raise awareness on issues affecting youth in Europe and Africa through video documentaries etc. “The project will be piloted in The Gambia and Madagascar,” he concluded.
This article, published on the Gambian newspaper The Daily Observer, was written by Fatoumata Senghore.