Youth lead the way in advocating for education

From The Gambia and Senegal, two education champions’ stories for International Youth Day

Samba Bah at the GPE Board Meeting in Dakar, Senegal December 2015. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud

Youth are invaluable advocates for education around the world. They not only have their school days fresh in their minds, but also a vested interested in making sure that future generations are empowered with the tools to make their world better.

In recent years, youth representatives have been invited to observe GPE annual board meetings as members of the civil society constituency. At the December 2015 meeting in Dakar, Senegal, we hosted two youth leaders from The Gambia and Senegal representing national youth coalitions.

Samba Bah– Promoting the right to education, especially for girls and children with disabilities

Samba is the speaker at the National Youth Parliament in The Gambia, a Civil Society Organization that works with the Education for All Network (EFANet) to advocate for education.

In addition to his work as a lecturer at the University of The Gambia, Samba is very active in promoting the right to education, especially for girls and children with disabilities. He has worked with the National Assembly Select Committee on Education in promoting educational rights especially among communities where girls are denied their educational rights.

Through ‘civic engagement hours’ Samba has engaged elected officials and public institutions in dialogue to bridge the gap between citizens and elected official on accountability and transparency in education.

Tabara Korka Ndiaye – Empowering youth with education

Tabara Korka Ndiaye. Credit: Tabara Korka Ndiaye

Tabara, a 20 year old youth leader from Senegal, has been a member of the national movement of Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs Du Sénégal (EEDS) since age five. She has participated in the Scout education program for many years, which taught her responsible citizenship, solidarity and commitment.

At 16, Tabara developed a program to support young people in her neighborhood through education. This initiative has grown and prospered to give birth to the first local group of Girl Scouts and Scouts of Senegal (with over 150 members) in their neighborhood.

Through her coaching, the youth discuss with parents the importance of enrolling children in school, the fight against the worst forms of child trafficking, girls' education and the fight against abuse and exploitation. The group provides a bridge between school and family.

Nationally, Tabara has initiated many activities on environmental issues and environmental education. At a Youth Forum in Senegal, organized by EEDS, she participated in discussions on policy issues related to education, training, youth employment, the environment, and community health, among others. Tabara represented Senegal at the G8 summit in Germany in 2015 where Chancellor Angela Merkel asked to talk to her directly about Senegal's health and education systems. 

Sub-Saharan Africa: Senegal, The Gambia


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