Meet The Young Gambian Peace Advocate Inspired By Rwandan History

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

When Bakary went to Rwanda to participate in the Peace Building Institute under Never Again Rwanda in February 2020, he was inspired by the history of Rwanda to replicate a similar thing in the Gambia.

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“I was inspired by participation at the Peacebuilding institute under Never Again Rwanda, after an intensive training I had and understanding the history of Rwanda, I was inspired to replicate something like that back home, that’s what gave birth to PHTG”.

Two months later, in May 2020, Bakary founded Peace Hub The Gambia, a peacebuilding organisation that will make indelible strides within a short period.

Christened Bakary Dena Sonko, the 25-year-old award-winning peace advocate and educator was born in Essau, in the North Bank Region of the Gambia.   He grew up in Essau, a village that looks like a city.  His background growing up and what he sees in his vicinity shaped his focus till today.

A trained teacher and an advanced Diploma holder in Peace and Conflict Studies and a final year student at the University of the Gambia, Bakary desires change through advocacy.

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“Growing up as a young man, I’ve lived and witnessed how differences were handled and how people live together and the happiness I drive from seeing people live together coupled with my desire to become a diplomat encourages me more to study peace and conflict and venture into peace advocacy”, he explained to The Fatu Network.

Developed an appellation ‘Tha Change’ and ‘Peacetivits’, courtesy of his passion for producing change through advocacy and dialogue, Bakary’s journey into activism in peace and nurturing the brains of young people is an amazing tale.

According to him, his background growing up in Essau motivated  him in his direction.

“I’ve developed so much passion for peace advocacy and this is largely inspired by my background as a young man growing up, and those experiences shaped my desire to do the work I do today.

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“Equally, harnessing the potentials of youth offers the best hope for both personal and collective growth, the desire to grow and help others grow inspired my work as a young leader”.

Since he co-founded the Peace Hub Gambia (PUTG) in May 2020, they have embarked on a series of tours from one region to another in advocating peace, building the capacity of young people,youth political participation and diversity.

The Peace Hub is a youth-led social cohesion organisation that focuses on promoting youth participation in the peacebuilding process.  The organisation seeks to keep on building the capacity of young people to be the centre for all peace processes in The Gambia.

Some time ago, Bakary and his team made a breakthrough between the people of Gunjur and Berending village in Kombo South and the land conflict in Salikene where his team settled the disputes. According to him, these are the organisation’s utmost accomplishments in addition to building the capacity of young Gambians in peace and conflict issues.

The 25-year-old and his team built the capacity of young people in these villages and after the benefits, they organised a football game which warranted the demise of the conflict in these villages.

A final year Development student at the University of The Gambia, Bakary visualizes a safer and better Gambia for all young people including persons living with disabilities and the Gambia that will cater for all.

In addition to empowering youths through capacity building in peace and conflict, Bakary’s Peace Hub The Gambia has provided employment opportunities for eight young Gambians who work at the organisation’s office.

A passionate young Gambian, Bakary is an award-winning peace advocate and educator, a trained leadership champion, and a champion of the sustainable development goals with more focus on goal 16. As a passionate peacebuilder, Bakary has spent a lot of his time raising awareness on youth political participation through his strong advocacy of the realization of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda in The Gambia.

As a peacebuilder, He mobilizes communities and inspires them to action by ensuring peace and security in those communities.

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