International workers day is celebrated globally first of May. In the Gambia this day is commonly known as MAY DAY or MAY DAY SPORTS because of the unique way it is celebrated.
The objectives of the May Day is to encourage healthy lifestyles for the citizenry who ordinarily would not take part in sports and physical exercise as a means of promoting sports employablity, keeping fit; to enhance knowledge on ethics of sports; to use sports as a unifying force in the society; to enhance the passion for sports and sports related activities and thus create an attraction; to use sports as a platform for physical activity and to use sports to break barriers of discrimination of any form.
With these objectives, we register up to 60 institutions annually with about 2500 athletes and watched by thousands of spectators envolved in events such as:
100m Sprints - men and women
4x100m Relay - men and women
400m- men and women
Tug of War - men and women
60m Three-Legged Race – women
60m Potato Race – women
60m Sack Race –men
Musical Chair - men and women
Climbing of the Greasy Pole
70m-Heads of Departments Race
70m-Team Managers Race
70m-Cabinet Ministers’ Race
Physical inactivity is now the fourth leading risk factors for the global mortality. Physical inactivity levels are rising in many countries with major implications for increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and the general health of the population worldwide.
Besides, physical activity has also been associated with improved psychological health by reducing levels of stress, anxiety and depression as well as building self-esteem and confidence.
The suffering and deaths arising from physical inactivity is also widely documented. Physical inactivity is responsible for an estimated 3.2 million deaths each year and for the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases - breast and colon cancers and diabetes, etc- and their risk factors such as raised blood pressure, raised blood sugar and overweight.
This global phenomenon can be felt in The Gambia, where 26% of women and 18% of men, aged 24 – 64 years, have low levels of physical activity (WHO Stepwise Survey, 2010). A similar trend was observed for levels of moderate physical activity among this age bracket, which stood at 19% and 17% for women and men respectively.
What is even more disturbing is that age group (about 30 year and above) is even more inactive than the rest of the population. The WHO Steps Survey indicates that the 35 – 54 age groups for both sexes, but more so for women, are more physically inactive than the rest of the population. This survey, for example, reveals that 43% of men and about 61% of women aged 35 – 54 years have low levels of physical activity. This is worrisome for a country like The Gambia where women constitute more than half of the population.
Thus, if the implications of physical inactivity among women are anything to go by, The Gambia is set to face serious health and economic challenges relating to non-communicable diseases if current levels of physical inactivity are not addressed. For example, local evidence already suggests that non-communicable diseases and their risk factors are on the increase in the urban areas, mainly in urban areas. Diabetes, hypertension, over weight and obesity are more pronounced in the urban areas whilst figures for obesity are even more striking, suggesting that 25% and 17% of women living in urban areas are overweight and obese respectively.
Addressing these challenges, the in a more effective manner requires good understanding of the barriers to physical inactivity in women, bearing in mind the complexities surrounding physical inactivity.
The Sport for Health Initiative cover the entire Government Ministries, NGOs, Parastatals, Civil society Organisations, media agencies, UN System in the Gambia, government departments and Business Community
Duration of campaign: Three days, every year
Project Goal: Promote mass participation in sports for excellence and well wellbeing
1. To conduct Information, Education and Encourage physical activity among the working class
2. To advocate and lobby for recreational facilities and parks for the promotion of physical activities and sports development from communities
3. To promote physical activity through networking and partnership among civil servant and general public in reducing non-Communicable Diseases.
Knowing the importance of sports as a tool for shaping young people, the two councils came up with the concept of youth and sports summer camp intends to bring together young people between the ages of 10 to 15 years which accordingly need the support and guidance from caring adults as they grow and develop. This can take the form of ongoing, secure relationship with parent and family members; as well as formal and informal relationship with friendly sports Organization; NGOS; Government institutions and community environments.
The regional chapters mobilize ten young people from each region through our well-established decentralized structures as well as from other partners and stakeholders. The summer camp which last for ten days have the following broad objectives:
i) Youth Mentoring towards sports entrepreneurship
ii) Education and awareness raising through sports
iii) Sports as a tool for development
Aware of the fact that youths have suffered from lack of knowledge and lack of access to information; cognizant of the fact that as future of the country, youths need sports on all arears in raising them up as physical activity keeps their brain active as well help perform well in school, keep them healthy, training on sports entrepreneurship, martial arts for self-defense etc.
In this light therefore, the activities are being designed to provide mentoring for young people in sports in addition to the establishment of after school programs and help young people engage in leisure programmes/activities such as light sports, events, entertainment, and community service will be ensured as it is key in preventing social ills such as crime, drug abuse and other negative behavior all aimed at controlling aggression, deal with conflict and encourage positive self-image.
It will encourage youth to continue with their education and still be active in sports after the basic cycle and for those who finish at grade 12 to have the option of a tertiary education; Advocate against cultural norms that do not allow youth the opportunity to participate in sports and sports development.
Drafting of constitutions for National Sport Associations
Drafting of constitutions for Regional Sport Committees
Support to NSAs and RSCs
Participation international competitions and the results
The National Youth Conference and festival (NACONF) is entirely the activity of the National Youth Council (NYC). Apart from the conference, sport form carries 90 % of the activities in the event and as such, the National Sports Council (NSC) is given the responsibility to coordinate the sports component at every NACONF.
As such the following disciplines will be competed for at this year NAYCONF by the seven administrative regions of the country.
Over 700 athletes and officials participate in the sports every NACONF.