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Acting National Director delivers statement on International Youth Day

The Acting National Director SOS Children’s Villages The Gambia Mr. Ebou Faye Njie on Thursday delivered a statement on behalf of the National Association in celebration of International Youth Day. The event was graced by The Gambia National Youth Council, Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia ( DLEAG), Fantanka Organisation, young people and staff.

“Good Morning

Children, Young People, Core Care co-workers, National Youth Council (NYC), Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia ( DLEAG) , Fantanka, distinguished guests and Speakers, fellow colleagues of the National Office , all other protocols respectfully observed It gives me the greatest pleasure to deliver a statement on this important day as we converge here to celebrate International Youth Day 2021. Young people without parental care and those at risk of losing it are among the most vulnerable groups in our societies. They lack the support to successfully navigate in a disruptive and competitive world whilst maintaining social and professional inclusion and participation. External trends like high youth unemployment, the effects of climate change, forced displacement and high individualism add additional pressure and challenges on them.

As SOS Children’s Villages and its partners maintain their stances to protect and serve young people without parental care and those at risk of losing it, it is our belief that strong relationships with caring adults can be game changers in these young people’s lives. By offering quality youth development services, we make sure they are not left behind and are supported to achieve self-fulfillment, ultimately contributing to the development of their families, communities and societies. Success, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As such, there are many forms a successful transition from childhood to independent life can take – it depends very much on context and culture and the individual personality of the young person.

As you know SOS Children’s Villages is guided by the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and of course the Children’s Act 2005 of The Gambia. SOS Children’s Villages the Gambia advocates for the rights of children and believes that a child’s development is best achieved in a conducive environment.

Madam Chair, staff and Young People, as this year’s THEME is Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health, it is important to be cognizant of the growing world population. With the world’s population expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years, it has been recognized by numerous stakeholders that simply producing a larger volume of healthier food more sustainably will not ensure human and planetary wellbeing. Other crucial challenges must also be addressed, such as the interlinkages embodied by the 2030 Agenda including poverty reduction; social inclusion; health care; biodiversity conservation; and climate change mitigation. Through youth education, engagement, innovation, and entrepreneurial solutions, this year’s International Youth Day aims to provide a platform for young people to continue the momentum from the ECOSOC Youth Forum in the lead-up to the high-level Food Systems Summit. As part of the Decade of Action for delivery of the 2030 Agenda and under the leadership of the Secretary-General and Prime Minister of Italy a Pre-Summit took place in July and lay the groundwork for the high-level Food Systems Summit to take place in September alongside the UN General Assembly which aims to highlight the urgency of transforming food systems, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic. In this context, this year’s International Youth Day is center around the theme Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.

I understand that this year’s celebration, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Major Group for Youth and Children have agreed to work together where a webinar will be organized and a survey will be conducted, in collaboration with partners to report on the outcomes of the event. To ensure no one is left behind in the discussions, civil society youth organizations will participate while ensuring regional representation, as well as the inclusion of Indigenous youth. The aim will be to highlight innovative entrepreneurial ideas by youth around the theme and to educate participants on work being done surrounding the transformation of food systems.

At SOS Children’s Villages Level, I was informed that there will be activities to celebrate this day such as: Session to engage young people to discuss the International Youth Day theme: Transforming Food System; Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health. and formation of the National youth Association, a whole day sporting activity, and a cultural night/dinner for all participants. This is great”.

I take this opportunity to thank the team and organizers for this event.

I wish you all a fruitful celebration and deliberations.

Happy International Youth Day

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