The National Youth Council (NYC) in collaboration with the National Organising Committee (NOC) of the 2014 National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) met with the Local Organising Committee (LOC), as they intensify efforts ahead of the biggest youth gathering in the country. The parties met last Saturday at the Office of the Lower River Region Governor.

The biannual youth and sports festival is scheduled to take place between the 14 and 22 of December 2014.

Addressing the meeting, Governor Salifu Puye, who also doubles as the chairman of the LOC, assured the delegation of a successful event, and informed the gathering that preparations towards the festival are in high gear.

He went further to explain that as part of the pre-NAYCONF activities, he has already established several committees such as accommodation, and catering amongst others, that have started work as they seek to build on the success of the previous edition in Upper River Region.

The governor assured the delegation that the entire Lower River Region is united to stage one of the best NAYCONFs in history, adding that the LOC has started the fundraising campaign, and organised “successful show” with Gambia’s kora maestro Jaliba Kuyateh.

He further disclosed that all the six districts of the region have pledged financial contributions to the LOC and therefore used the opportunity to call on philanthropists, donors, among others to also contribute in the organisational process.

Lamin Marong, the marketing and publicity chairman of the NOC, said his role is to discuss a way forward with the Local Organising Committee, as well as assist them in preparations towards a successful festival.

He disclosed that the budget for the event is estimated at four million and nine hundred thousand Dalasis (D4.9M), noting that the government of The Gambia has already given the Committee one million Dalasis.

Marong went on to note that they are looking forward to a successful event and disclosed that football, basketball, volleyball, and draft among others will be part of the sporting activities of the event. He also informed that  people with disabilities will also partake in the sporting aspect of the event for the first time ever.

According to Marong, the NAYCONF flag will soon be taken to all the seven administrative regions of the country, and that they are expected to organise a fundraising event in all those regions. The proceeds from the events, he added, will be used to pay for the services of the activists who performed while the rest will go to the NOC. 

He therefore encouraged the youth to show up their innovation by coming up with locally made products that can be used as exhibits during the event, hence the theme for this year’s event: ‘Youth Entrepreneurship and Sports Development’.

The LOC publicity and marketing boss further disclosed that the festival is expected to bring together 1,800 delegates with each region providing 150 participants.

Marong finally thanked the LRR governor for the warm welcome accorded them, adding that the 2014 NAYCONF is to be prepared well. He added that efforts are underway to partner with institutions for the event.

Alhaji Yahya Jarjusey, the chief of Jarra West district assures that the event will be hosted successfully without doubt.  “We will do our best to contribute and support this national youth event in the region,” he assured. 

Lamin Darboe, the regional Youth and Sports chairmperson also assured the gathering that his region is working hard to ensure a successful event.

Alieu Bah, the regional Youth and Sports coordinator in an earlier interview with Observer Sports told this reporter that works at the mini-stadium in Jarra Soma have already been completed and plans are underway to put standpipes at the ground before the events.

Wandifa Kinteh, the president of the regional football association revealed that the artificial pitch sponsored by FIFA will soon be constructed at the mini-stadium, while indicating that they are also working with partners to provide seating arrangements.

Author: Salifu M. Touray in LRR