In 2017, the Gambian National Youth Council (NYC) under the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), with support from UNFPA and other partners, organised its biennial National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF), bringing together approximately 2000 delegates from all youth groups, regions and sectors of the country, to undertake a sober reflection of the challenges and opportunities youth in The Gambia encounter and how to take advantage of the prospects of youth empowerment and development, offered by the ushering in of a new democratic dispensation in the country and further inspired by the landmark regional declaration on “harnessing the demographic dividend by investing in youth” as encapsulated in the AU Road Map (2017).
As an outcome, the 2017 NAYCONF produced a set of resolutions arranged according to eight (8) thematic areas, namely: (i) Youth leadership and political participation; (ii) Youth employment and entrepreneurship: (iii) Youth in Agriculture; (iv) Curbing youth irregular migration; (v) Access to information and anti-corruption; (vi) Information and communication technologies; (vii) Peace and security; and (viii) Gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health.
As a result, UNFPA in 2018 supported the NYC to develop and validate the Gambia Programme of Action on Youth (GPAY). Emanating from the aspirations of Gambian youth during the 2017 (NAYCONF), the GPAY is aligned to the priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth and the Gambia National Development Plan (2017 – 2021), among others.
Launched on 30 May 2019 with support from UNFPA, through it UN Peacebuilding Fund project on Increasing Women & Youth Participation in Decision Making & as Agents of Community Conflict Prevention Women and Youth, the GPAY will guide holistic interventions towards the realisation of the maximum potential of Gambian youth.