By Mustapha Jallow
Scores of Gambians have tasked the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) to strengthen its civic education outreach in a bid to educate people on their rights and responsibilities.
The call came amid a six-day civic awareness training organized by NCCE and supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with United Nations Peace Building Fund (UNPF).
The training was held under the topic: “Training of out-of-school youths on leadership, civic right and duties to prepare them for transition to adulthood and citizenship.’’
Fernando T. Mendy, a resident of Soma urged the civic educators to continue with their awareness campaign because there are lots of things that the public need to know.
“I’m quite sure that there is a lot of misunderstanding out there that needs to be rectified for us to develop a new country,’’ he said.
Saikou Jaiteh from Mansakonko, observed that political division has increased in most communities, thus he called on NCCE to continue the sensitization program.
Juma Conteh, from Wellingara-ward in Soma, urged the youths to not only concentrate on white collar jobs, but to seek skills which could help them generate income for themself.
She said skills acquisition could help in reducing the unemployment rate in the country and discourage youths from taking the perilous journey dubbed “back-way.”
“Enough skill centres will also reduce the rate of migration and political violence in the country,’’ she said.
Madam Conteh said youth with skills should be given priority to participate in national development.
Delivering his presentation at Wassu in Central River Region (CRR), Ansumana Ceesay, NCCE’s senior program officer highlighted the roles ‘out-of-school youth’ can play in society, while urging Gambians to do away with the attitude of seeing them as dropouts and less important people in society.
Fatoumatta Leigh, a youth representative from Leba Malick Mbye, said the training exposed her to areas she didn’t know prior to the training.
“Now that I know my rights and duties as a citizen, I will be able to sensitize my community particularly youth,’’ she said. “A lot of young people suffer in communities because they do not know their rights and duties as citizens. I urge NCCE officials to expand their outreach to other communities.”
Meanwhile, the training session which attracted over 250 youth was designed to provide youth with information on leadership, civic rights and duties. This is believed would serve as a means of enhancing their participation in matters of governance; enhance a culture of constitutionalism where citizens uphold and defend the highest law of the land.