By Isatou Kanyi
The Gambia has on Friday, 20th November, 2020, joined the world to commemorate Universal Children’s Day at the Sir Dawda Kairaba conference center.
Celebrated this year under the theme “Impact of COVID- 19 on Children”, the day brought together government representatives and children agencies in the country.
The commemoration was organized by Child Protection Alliance (CPA) and Child Fund The Gambia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, and Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE).
Universal Children’s Day celebrations aim to improve child welfare, promote and celebrate children’s rights and promote togetherness and awareness amongst children.
The children’s day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day and has since been celebrated on 20th November each year to promote international togetherness, raise awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
Speaking at the event, Aja Mansata Bajo, President of Voice of the Young under Child Protection Alliance, said commemorating universal children’s day is a step ahead towards raising awareness among children.
“Children are the cream of every nation,” she said.
Madam Bajo said if people are truly working towards a bright and the best future for this country, they need to invest in children matters.
Commenting on this year’s theme, Mrs Bajo lamented the impact of COVID- 19 pandemic on children was huge, saying the deadly virus has caused a hard blow on children.
“It came as an unexpected and uncontrollably force that caught us all off guard. Adults were struggling with this adjustment and failed to consider how children were handling a situation that they were helpless about,” she said.
Sarata Ceesay, Speaker of the Children’s National Assembly of The Gambia, said the day is important to them, noting since 1954, it’s the day that children realized their potential and also ensure their voices are heard.
This includes ensuring that the Government knows that they have rights and that they need to be protected.
“Our welfare should be important to every state or every Government,” she remarked.
The children’s assembly speaker further explained that the day should be an opportunity for every child to come out and speak out so that stakeholders would know their concerns or challenges plus outline how the challenges may be addressed.
Meanwhile, part of the event’s celebration was an Inter-Schools Drama and Poetry Competition which brought children from various schools to “express their views and opinions to influence decisions that may affect their lives.”