April 4, 2007, Washington, DC – Youth Crime Watch of America, a NGO with twenty national affiliates across the globe all dedicated to creating crime-free and drug-free environments for learning and living through a youth-led movement, today presented an award for national leadership in youth crime prevention, the International Casey Award, to The Gambian President A.J. J. Jammeh.
The award was presented in person to the Gambian Ambassador to the United States, Dodou Bammy Jagne, by Youth Crime Watch of America Executive Director Terry Modglin, at the Gambian Embassy in Washington, DC
Annually Youth Crime Watch of America honors those who have advanced the cause of the safety of youth, a healthy environment for youth, and the development of youth through the Youth Crime Watch movement. President Jammeh was chosen for this honor because of his sensitivity to the issue of youth involvement and his efforts in youth crime prevention, youth development and programming.
The President has recognized the value of Youth Crime Watch as an instrument of value in the Gambia for connecting youth with the community and with critical safety sectors such as the police. The President recognized the Youth Crime Watch of the Gambia in his speech to the National Assembly on March 31, 2006 for YCWG’s efforts to bring together the first ever Police Student Forum. The Jammeh Government has also recognized through its planning and policies that the issues facing youth and the youth capacity for solutions are an important part of the national agenda. Leadership in this respect is the reason why the Gambia is the site for the International Conference on Migration and Human Trafficking to be held this next week.
The Youth Crime Watch of the Gambia was likewise a global award-winner in crime prevention, receiving the award for International program of the Year. Led by Abdul Jobe, YCWG’s in the past year achieved the following remarkable results: conducted on January 17 the Police Youth Forum mentioned by President Jammeh; organized a forum on illegal migration at the Gambia Police Force headquarters in Banjul; acted as an accredited observer to the September 22 Presidential election in the Gambia; joined forces with the West Africa Network for Peace Building and other organizations in a 10,000 Faces Campaign to press for “effective and urgent” action for governments to sign the global Arms Trade Treaty; conducted a successful anti-violence campaign in the secondary schools; conducted a restorative justice and peer mediation training that is being spread throughout the country; and conducted an intensive two-day training of trainers workshop on crime, drugs, and violence for youth across the country.
This is the first time that the International Casey Award has been presented to a head of government. The award carries the name of the Youth Crime Watch of America mascot or crime prevention icon, Casey the Crime Watchin’ Cat, a symbol and teaching instrument for youth.
Youth Crime Watch of America was established in 1986 in Miami, Florida, United States of America. The Youth Crime Watch movement now embraces twenty nations on five continents. The program gives youth the tools to actively reduce crime and drug in their schools and communities and is credited with significantly reducing crime and drug use. Youth in their Watch utilize optional program components or innovate to customize the program to meet the challenges in their local surroundings. Adult champions of youth, including police officers and teachers, serve as adult advisors to the Watches. In West Africa Youth Crime Watch resides in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Gambia, Benin, and Guinea.