GALGA Engages Local Community on Sustainable Local Governance, others

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By Nelson Manneh

The Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) has engaged over 550 people with five rural local councils being sensitized on sustainable local governance, peace and security, and social justice within five rural local councils.

These exposures were made during a maiden town hall meeting between local authorities and opinion leaders organized by GALGA.  

With support from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Senegal/The Gambia, the activity falls under outcome 2.3 of the 2024 GALGA work plan that intends to increase taxpayers’ and other citizens’ understanding of the operations of Councils and the importance of peace, security, and social justice to establish trust between Local Councils and the people for sustainable growth.

Implemented in Basse, Janjanbureh, Kuntaur, Kerewan, and Mansakonko Area Councils, the town hall meetings enlightened the participants on the understanding of the operations of local councils including their decentralized structure- Village and ward development committees. It also sensitized them about the importance of peace, security, and social justice in the context of sustainable local governance.

Participants in the meetings included Chiefs and Alkalolus, Village and Ward Development Committee (WDC) members, Youth, and Persons With Disability (PWDs) Security Personnel, Council Staff, and Students.

“We are satisfied with the participation and contribution of the participants in these meetings and we are happy that we have enhanced their understanding of the roles of local councils and those of people,” Program Manager of GALGA, Amadou Jallow said.

He said the town hall meetings aim to encourage and create platforms of discussion between local council authorities and the taxpayer community for improved understanding of their individual and collective roles and responsibilities as enshrined in the Local Government Act 2002 and other laws.

He added: “It also aims to encourage just distribution of opportunities and services to taxpayers by Local Councils and the importance of peace and security for sustainable local governance.”

Addressing participants at Sami Pachonki and Dingerai meetings, the Chairman of Kuntaur Area Council, MrSaihouJawara, emphasized the need for people to seek a clearer understanding of the functions of local councils and their decentralized structure for improved community development.

He said his council will continue to provide services to its taxpayer community but encourage them to be tax compliant by regularly and voluntarily paying their tax which will enable the councils to implement more programmes for them. 

“Area Councils are tax collection and service delivery institutions and this cannot be done without the cooperation of the people,” Kerewan Area Council chairman, Papa Tunkara said at the Njawara and Kuntaya meetings.

Mr. Tunkara said the Kerewan Area Council intends to be organizing such platforms to discuss with taxpayers every year. Still, he said they are usually constrained by funding and other overwhelming engagements and activities.

He added that there is a need for increased training and sensitization of communities, particularly the village and ward development committee decentralized structures and other roles as dictated in the Local Government Act and other laws governing local governance in The Gambia.