Civic Education Sensitises VDCs on Local Government laws, Administration

By Kebba Jeffang

The National Council for Civil Education (NCCE), as part of its civic advocacy outreach education, on Tuesday, 6th October 2015,NCCE officials and VDC members at Berending commenced a 10 days training for village development committees (VDCs) on Decentralization, Local Administration and the Local Government Act 2002.

This is the second phase of the activity which commenced at Berending village and will be held in 50 other communities in the North Bank Region (NBR) in which 200 VDC members are targeted.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Lamin Sonko, the representative of Alkalo of Berending, expressed delight for hosting the opening of the regional training of the VDC members. He said they are happy and interested to see such activities organized for their VDC.

Mr. Wally Joof, the Chairman of Berending VDC said sensitization on the Local Government Act is important and that the session ensures that members of all the VDCs will become aware of their roles and responsibilities. He urged participants to share the information with other members.

For his part, Mr. Fabakary Nana Sonko, Chief of Lower Nuimi, said the move is meant to educate the stakeholders for nation’s development. He said the Gambian people own the Gambia and must be ready to work in togetherness for the development of the country.

Chief Sonko advised the VDC members to be tolerant, adding that they should be working closely with the Alkalos who are the village heads in order to bring stability.

He hailed the women for their great contribution to national development.

Mrs. Isatou Bittaye Jobe, the Senior Program Officer at NCCE, said the sensitization is part of their efforts in enlightening local authorities and village development committees on their various functions and responsibilities as enshrined in the Local Government Act 2002.

She said the training is the second phase of the training following the first phase which was done in the Lower River Region and where 50 communities were trained on the same issues. She said her office is mandated to educate the people of the country about the content of the Constitution.  She said the Act establishes the VDC and clearly defines its role and functions.

“We are here to clarify any misunderstanding between the role of Alkalolu and the VDCs in their respective communities by explaining explicitly the variuos roles and responsibilities,” said Mrs. Bittaye.

Also addressing the meeting was Mr. Ansumana Yabo, Civic Education Supervisor at the NCCE, who dwelled on the objective and expectations of the training. He reminded that the ten days activity is focusing on the Local Government Act 2002 which spelt out the establishment of the VDC.

“VDCs cannot work effectively without the guidance of the law which prescribes their role but we have realized that many VDC don’t understand this. This is why there are problems between them and the Alkalos,” noted Yabo.

He said this training is being financed by the NCCE.

During the course of the ten days, the presentations on Decentralization and Local Governance will be made by Mrs. Bittaye, Overview of the Local Government Administration and Act by Mr. Junkung K. Saidy, Local Government Structures (composition and functions) by Mr. Kebba O. Jobe and the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedom by Mr. Ansumana Yabo.