Hon. Fatou Kinteh, Gambian Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, along with the Secretary-General of the Gambian National Commission for UNESCO (COMNAT), the Head of the Evaluation Unit of the Ministry of Basic Education and their accompanying delegation, visited the UNESCO regional office in Dakar on Tuesday, June 15. She met with Dimitri Sanga, Director of the office, and his team, namely Dr. Marema Touré Thiam, Head of Human and Social Sciences Sector and Dr. Anthony Maduekwe, Head of Natural Sciences Sector to discuss partnership opportunities and address the success of the actions carried out in The Gambia by the SHS program.
During her visit, the Minister exposed the strategic plan drafted by her recently established Ministry for the next five years. This plan, which focuses on empowering children, women, and vulnerable people for national development and poverty reduction, aims towards creating a framework that will enable The Gambia to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU Agenda 2063. The alignment of the fields of action of this new Ministry with UNESCO's areas of competence and support, such as the protection of women and children, the creation of inclusive vocational and technical training programs, as well as the strengthening of equity and guaranteeing the respect of the rights of vulnerable populations, make the Organization a partner of choice and provide an excellent opportunity to further develop the Organization's activities in the country.
She then congratulated the success of the actions carried out in The Gambia, in line with the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda, between 2017 and 2020, including the success of the 2017 and 2019 African Youth Foras held in Banjul, jointly organized with UNESCO to celebrate the ongoing peaceful democratic transition experienced by her country and provide an opportunity to reflect on the key role of youth in the progress towards a more democratic Africa.
Finally, future initiatives that will salute the role of the Gambian youth in a peaceful society were mentioned. Young activists, researchers, influencers, and Gambian leaders will be invited to take part in the African Humanities (AHF) Forum in Bamako, which will be the opportunity to exchange and reflect upon various topics, such as the current concerns of African youth.
The Minister also discussed with the Regional Director and his team the preparation of the 4th Regional Youth Forum in Banjul (dates TBA). The organization of this new edition will take into account the lessons learned from organizing the 2019 Forum. Workshops and training sessions will also be designed, in collaboration with the Gambian government, to encourage and further promote initiatives taken by Gambian youth.
UNESCO, which already supports The Gambia with several programs related to technical and vocational education and training (TVET), disaster risk management through ICT, intends to strengthen its interventions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and education for well-being in connection with services dedicated to adolescents and youth.