By Saikou Suwareh Jabai and Nelson Manneh The National Youth council in collaboration with other publicMr. Darboe, NYC institutions, at a press conference on 5 May, harped on tribulations of the irregular migration and the existing opportunities for youth in the Gambia and how they can access them.It was emphasised that irregular migration by the youth has claimed the lives of many youth and the number is still counting at an alarming rate. The coalition against this perilous journey to Europe includes the Directorate of Planning and Programmes at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Sports Council (NSC), President International Awards (PIA), National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS) and the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA). Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Director of NYC, Mr. Lamin Darboe, said the objective of the session is to ensure that young people who believe that there is less job opportunity in the Gambia to know that there is a wide range of existing opportunities and how the youths can access them. He said the current trend of irregular migration demand for urgent concerted efforts of all the stakeholders in tackling the menace and that the Ministry of Youths and Sports cannot do it alone. Mr. Darboe said that being fully conscious of the fact that every citizen has the universal right of freedom of movement, the council is not against irregular migration but one cannot risk his or her life just in search of a greener pasture. Darboe believes that the engagement of duty bearers who deliver services to young people to make sure that the services are delivered could be a positive approach in addressing the situation. He highlighted some of the significant moves the council has been embarking on in the fight against migration, among them, a community sensitization on the ‘back way’. The director narrated some of the hardships these youths endure in their transiting countries and the risk attached in crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boats that are not fully equipped to trade in the sea. He posited that some of those youths who made it to Italy are influencing the potential migrants in the country by sending them beautiful pictures and convincing them to venture into the dangerous journey to Europe. This, he said, is a ‘pull factor’ and urged them to stop telling unfounded stories and be genuine enough to tell their friends the truth on the ground. The director said all stakeholders should put all hands on deck in countering these factors in eradicating this seemingly unending journey. He finally called on youths to learn skills and be job creators and not to fold their arms in waiting for white-colored jobs to find them. Other institutions also spoke at length about the opportunities available at their offices and sectors for the jobless youths and how they can be accessed. They hailed the efforts of the NYC and described the session as timely and crucial. Participants on the ground, including journalists and youth activists, raised issues with the organizers and some believed the government is not doing enough in creating more job opportunities for the youths and improving their working conditions in their respective offices.]]>

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