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UNICEF Hosts Partnership Banquet and Theatre Evening to Commemorate 70th Anniversary

© UNICEF Gambia 2016
UNICEF Resident Representative, Mrs. Sara Beysolow Nyanti (centre), with the winners of the National Art Competition organized as part of the UNICEF's 70th anniversary celebrations

On 18th November 2016, UNICEF Gambia hosted a Partnership Banquet and Theatre Evening at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, to commemorate UNICEF’s 70th Anniversary. Since inception in 1946, UNICEF has been working extensively in more than 190 countries and territories to ensure the protection and fulfilment of children’s rights. The agency has been operating in partnership with the government of The Islamic Republic of The Gambia and other stakeholders for the past 51 years, striving to deliver results for children in health, education, and protection, among other key areas. 

To mark this significant milestone, the UNICEF Gambia Country Office brought together children, partners in Government and Civil Society, representatives from the diplomatic and consular corps, the media and other partners to celebrate the achievements and results registered for children in The Gambia and beyond. 

Speaking at the event, the UNICEF Resident Representative, Sara Beysolow Nyanti expressed gratitude to partners at all levels for their contributions to achieving notable results for children in The Gambia. As a result of the strong partnerships established, she noted that the situation of Gambian children has improved considerably. “With the support of UNICEF and other partners, malaria is being eliminated, the country is almost open defecation-free, girls are equally entering primary school as boys, and immunization coverage is the best in West and Central Africa region. FGM/C and Child Marriage have recently been banned and children can be assured that violators will be prosecuted due to legislation that is now available”, the UNICEF Representative highlighted. 

Madam Nyanti pointed out that there have been significant life-changing transitions in UNICEF’s work over the years, including a shift in focus “from addressing the needs of all children to narrowing our lens on the children, mothers and communities that are the most vulnerable, thus ensuring equitable access to essential social and development services for the least privileged.”

From the ratification and domestication of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Gambia has demonstrated its commitment to create opportunities for an enabling environment for all children, especially with regards to access to basic services in health, education and protection. 

© UNICEF Gambia 2016
Twelve year-old Fatoumatta Daffeh delivers the Vote of Thanks at the close of the event

The event also featured an award ceremony for winners of the National Art Competition for children jointly organised by UNICEF, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, the National Council for Arts and Culture and the National Youth Council. Out-of-school children and pupils from Early Childhood Development, Lower Basic, Upper Basic and Senior Secondary levels explored their artistic talent to depict what child rights mean for them as Gambian children.  The competition, which ran from 3rd to 26th October, registered a total of 396 submissions from children across the country, presented for judging at the school, cluster, regional and national levels. Nine winners from various regions of the country were awarded prizes and certificates for their outstanding submissions in the different categories. 

Creating opportunities for all children is essential to their full development, and after 70 years, UNICEF is helping to draw the world closer to achieving this goal. To achieve even greater results, there is a need to close the gaps and address existing inequalities that deprive children of the opportunity to enjoy their rights. In The Gambia, “there are many children still out of school, and many also suffer from various forms of violence and harmful practices which require a strengthened child protection system”, as highlighted by the UNICEF Representative in her statement. She added that there is need to address the fact that 1 in 4 Gambian children are stunted, ensuring that no child is left behind in development processes and initiatives. 

Madam Nyanti used the opportunity to further reiterate UNICEF’s appreciation for the support of government and civil society partners, while highlighting the agency’s enthusiasm to strengthen these partnerships to deliver more results for children in The Gambia. 

The Partnership Dinner and Theatre Evening was punctuated with performances from groups of traditional communicators and Blaque Magique, a theatre production group. 

 

 
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