By Kebba Jeffang
National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), in collaboration with Action Aid International -The Gambia (AAITG), commenced a two day engagement on Monday, August 22, 2016 for young people from different organizations, women and political parties on the importance of their participation in democracy and elections.
The event is being held at regional education office in Bikama in the West Coast Region (WCR).
Speaking at the opening session, Alhaji Serigne Faye, the Chairman of NCCE, said it is their mandate to go round and educate the masses in order to raise their awareness on civic education. He said young people, women and the political parties are crucial stakeholders in this endeavor and hence the training.
In underscoring the importance of democracy, the NCCE Chair said tolerance by all people is key in any given democratic society, noting that people should be ready to accommodate divergent views and dissenting opinions as thoughts of others for the interest of the country.
However, he noted that “it is important to know our rights and responsibilities as citizens and understand that power resides in the people and we should decide by choosing a leader. I therefore urged all the participants here to take effectively take part in the training and share it with other people outside.”
Omar Badjie, Executive Director AAITG, said it is out of the role and good job being done by NCCE that Action Aid decided to collaborate with them in order to implement this timely programme. He said the role of young people and women in participating in democracy should be maximised because they have been the marginalised population groups in the society for a very long time.
“The two folks constitute about 50% of the population and contribute immensely in the country’s GDP, yet they are sidelined with a very low level of awareness and representation in the national assembly,” said the AAITG director.
Badjie advised that it is important for one to understand and know why he or she is voting and that people should consider certain qualities in those seeking power before deciding in their favour. He assured that his office will continue to work with NCCE in similar directions.
Baboucarr Secka, Youth and Sports Coordinator, West Coast Region, who also represented the Governor of the region, said the government has tried immensely in ensuring women’s participation in the democratic process, citing the establishment of the Women’s Bureau, among others, as an example.