. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .
An article by Jankey Ceesay from The Point
West Africa Network for Peace Building-The Gambia (WANEP) recently convened a day’s ‘bantaba’ (group discussion) on youth participation in decision-making and peace-building processes at Metzy Residence in Kololi.
WANEP-The Gambia is a registered not-for-profit organization with a membership of 20 civil society organizations working towards strengthening the capacity of peace building practitioners, governmental and non-governmental institutions, and developing conflict prevention networks and mechanisms to promote the culture of peace.
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Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?
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Addressing the gathering, Ms. Salama Njie, the National Network Coordinator West Africa Network for Peace Building-The Gambia (WANEP), reminded that youth are mostly used by politicians to win positions and neglect them afterwards.
“The vulnerability of young people to political exploitation and election related violence in an already fragmental society could with growing ethnic diversions and political party disputes cause concern for all of us and we are used by political leaders to gained their posts,” she pointed out.
She explained that youth consist 64% of the country’s population, yet meaningful participation of young men and women in governance system, remains a challenge.
She advised them to desist from being used by political leaders to disturb the country’s peace by attacking their opponent and inciting violence, rather they should be involved in politics, decision-making and promote peace ahead of the local election.
Tijan Bah, the assistant national early warning systems manager at WANEP, expressed optimism that the forum would produce a road map for young people to be involved in decision making levels and be agents for peace in their various communities.