This post is written by Ebrima Ceesay, who is a core Activista in Activista the Gambia.
Recently, I was fortunate to represent Activista the Gambia as a conference delegate at this noble gathering of young people from different youth organizations and regional youth structures across the country called National Youth Conference and Festival which is held every two years to discuss the problems of young people and make resolutions to the government and other stakeholders.
However, during closing ceremony came the announcement of a super stunning, incredibly laudable achievement of Activista the Gambia in clinching the award of the best youth organization of the year 2012. (You can see it happen in the video below!)
It has been manifested even before the award of the best youth network that the work of Activista the Gambia have impacted greatly on the lives of people most especially young people as we seek to engage youths in advocacy and empower them to influence political processes.
Based on my discussion with some of the delegates, I was amused that almost all the delegates are very much aware of our activities and programs to the extent of being able to push our advocacy and campaign issues as we meet with the ministries and institutions.
...I was amused that almost all the delegates are very much aware of our activities and programs...
That is what I think we would call INCREDIBLY AMAZING.
Moreover, the Activista slogan “up with justice, down with hunger” became a popular slogan during the course of the conference and even at the festival ground. All this boiled down to the news of Activista the Gambia being the best youth organization spreading like a wild bushfire sweeping through a forest.
Over the years Activista the Gambia have been engaged and engaging young people in series of activities such as:
- International women’s day celebration: Through vox-pop (collection of voices of people and play on the radio), production of a short documentary, radio panel discussions, and grand drama completion between five groups on the theme connection girls inspiring their future.
- Gambia 2011 crop failure/food crisis campaign/advocacy through blogs and videos.
- Climate change mitigation through tree planting exercises with affected communities.
- Journeys to reclaimed land/ journeys to end hunger (Land is Life for Farmers campaign).
- Capacity building trainings and training of trainers for young people.
- Training of young people on policy analysis to enable them hold their government to account.
The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual
It is not only about being the best, but making an impact in the lives of the Gambian people that earned Activista the Gambia the most outstanding youth group for the past two years of service.
Over the years I have participated in the planning processes of Activista the Gambia likewise other individuals which torched on mobilizing and organizing youths from the grassroots level given them skills and a platform to raise issues of concern through the national campaigns and leading to the international structure of the Activista Family.
“We advocate and campaign with the affected and not for them”
This is what makes Activista different from other youth networks/organizations and what development workers will call bottom-up approach – in the Activista and ActionAid Family we say the Human Rights Based Approach.
To ensure sustainability of development initiatives in communities should be derived from the needs of the society and ensure that they participate in their development aspiration and not spoon fed. This is exactely what Activista does.
I am therefore pleased to say that it is this uniqueness in us (Activista) that played the dividend in us being awarded this prestigious trophy.
However, the work still continues as we seek to influence and advocate for right policy spaces for women and youth people in bringing about justice.