By Mustapha Jallow
Officials of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) on Saturday tasked local communities to participate in political leadership and peace-building processes.
The officials made the call in the ongoing six-day national civic awareness outreach aimed at engaging communities in a dialogue on the initiative among women, youths, and community leaders and/or structure.
The overall objective of the activity is to foster mutual collaboration and participation on leadership in promoting inclusivity, peace-building, and representative decision-making at all levels.
Held at RDI Hall in Pakalinding, Lower River Region (LRR), the event was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under the theme: “Leaving no one behind: Participation In Decision making and peace-building.’’
Participants included Alkalolu, Seyfolu (chiefs) and the youths of Jarra.
Alh. Serign Fye, Chairman of NCCE, said the program intended to reach 240 participants, including women, youths and community leaders, and also physically challenged persons.
He added Gambia’s ability to create, nurture and sustain peace requires real and definitive collaborative efforts across traditionally divided groups.
According to him, the stigma against women especially in politics is still alive and well, saying women continue to face structural, socioeconomic, institutional and cultural barriers.
Fye said having women and youth in political leadership is very much in line with the country’s constitution which guarantees the basic human right for women and men, including young people to enjoy equal opportunities. He further said NCCE is committed to continue facilitating dialogues of this nature to build harmony among people in society.
“We will also continue with our determination to build and consolidate a mature political culture in which all citizens regardless of gender and age are more aware of, and fully exercise their rights and responsibilities, as well as participate effectively in nurturing and broadening our nascent democracy,’’ he concluded.
Madam Rohey John Manjang, the Governor of Lower River Region (LRR), said peace and dialogue is a very important pillar in their governing system, saying without peace, development will not happen.
She explained that if the structures are strongly built with the full foundation of ethical values, then the kids, governors, and the state security will have lesser work to do. Thus, she suggested, the Gambia will have few cases or limited social conflicts.
Sanjally Saidykhan, Lady Councilor for Jarra West, said women clap and dance for political leaders, but when the political leaders are elected, they ignore people’s needs, especially those of women.
“We need women in political positions too because when a lot of women hold such positions, then our problems will be solved amicably,’’ she said.
Saidykhan said youths should also be given the chance to participate in leadership decision making processes.
The awareness campaign continues in communities in the Central River and Upper River Regions.