By Nelson Manneh

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the UNFPA, arrived in the Gambia last Thursday on a two-day visit.

Dr. Kanem was welcomed at the Banjul International Airport by Government officials including the Minister of Foreign Affairs among others, and is expected to meet President Barrow and other senior Government officials and stakeholders during her visit.

Shortly after her arrival at the Banjul International Airport, Dr. Kamen was taken to the Youth Bantaba held at the Qcity. There, she was engaged by the young people on issues related to them.

Lamin Darboe the Executive Director National Youth Council in his remarks said UNFPA has been supportive of the people of the Gambia especially the young people and women.

‘‘25 years ago, the world comes together to decide for the lives of the young people and today we are here to engage the Executive Director on our own issues that concerns us,’’ he said.

Darboe said the main focus of the UNFPA is putting youth first in all their activities and to make sure that they are empowered.

Dr. Natalia Kanem on her part said when many people start to move in the same direction, there will be power in that movement’s direction; that she believed in young people and that is why she advocates for their welfare and for their voices to be heard everywhere she goes. ‘‘Our women need to be respected in society and their voices need to be heard,’’ she said.

Dr. Kanem in showing her appreciation to the warm welcome accorded her by the youth, said the meeting was one of the best she had with the youth during all this time she has led the World body, to discuss with them on issues related to their lives.

‘‘The powers of young people need to be recognized and they deserve to be treated equally. We need to respect each other and work towards achieving our aims,’’ she said.

The young people who were present at the Bantaba, engaged Dr. Kanem in  an interactive question and answer session.

The UNFPA is a United Nations’ agency working towards the delivery of a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth safe and every young person’s potential fulfilled. The agency has been working with Governments and partners across the world to support its mission through interventions which targets women and adolescent youth.

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