As part of the Tekki-Fii – Building a Future: Make it in The Gambia project, IMVF and partners, in partnership with the National Youth Council and The Gambia National Sport Council, organised 2 regional youth forums in the regions of Central River (CRR) ), Lower River (LRR), Upper River (URR) and North Bank (NBR), taking place on August 17 and 19.

These discussion forums (Bantaba), held in Farafenni and Basse, were followed by two football matches, joining women’s and men’s teams from each region. These meetings brought together around 300 young people and provided a platform for discussion around three themes: agribusiness and entrepreneurship opportunities, the role of sport in development, risks of irregular migration and opportunities for regular migration. Through discussion and sharing of experiences, we sought to encourage a reflective attitude, promoting the active involvement of young people in community development and seeking their recognition as important agents of change.

Lamin Darboe, Executive Director of the National Youth Council, recalling the importance attached to youth in the National Development Plan, challenged the Gambian youth to actively participate in the development of the country and in building their own future by making the best use of the available opportunities. In this context, he thanked the support of the project for the empowerment and of young people.

Joana Martins, project coordinator, described these Bantabas as an opportunity to promote debate and interaction among young people from different regions, considering that sharing experiences is crucial to finding effective solutions to development challenges, often common to the various regions.

The Bantabas were attended by Governors and other regional authorities, and it was recognised by all that young people are the main development resource of the regions, which needs to be stimulated and trained.

IMVF ensures the implementation of the Tekki Fii Program component assigned to Portuguese Cooperation, in partnership with the Agency for the Development of Women & Children (ADWAC), Alianza por la Solidaridad and United Purpose. The Tekki Fii Program is funded by the European Union Trust Fund for Africa.

The project aims to contribute to the socio-economic development of rural areas by helping to mitigate some of the drivers of irregular migration.