By Mustapha Jallow
Officials from the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) have concluded training of “out of school’’ youths on leadership, civic rights and duties that would prepare them to transition into adulthood as responsible citizens in the country.
It was also aimed at enhancing the understanding of these youth on civic rights, duties and public resource management to responsibly assume their roles in national development.
Organised by NCCE, the long-day sessions that brought together young people to discuss the topic about leadership and civic rights, has been wrapped up at Lower River Region (LRR).
The meeting was supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) through the UN Peace-Building Fund (UNPBF) under the theme: “Nurturing patriotism and responsible citizenship among the young people.’’
The conclusion was held on 29th and 30th August 2021, at Mansakonko conference hall and Kwinella, Kinag Central LRR.
Ansumana Ceesay, Senior Programme Officer for NCCE while declaring his welcoming statement, said the training was meant to nurture patriotism and responsible citizenship among the young people who are absolutely the future of the country.
“This is also the second time this activity was funded by the same partners,’’ he said.
Ceesayexplained that the activity involves two trainings in each of the three selected administrative regions of Upper River, Central River and Lower River (Regions), making it six trainings in totality. He said about 240 participants across the selected regions benefited from these sessions.
“Since we cannot bring everybody here, but we are confident that you people (participants) are a representation of the critical mass in your respective areas and therefore you have a big stake in influencing the thinking and actions of your people to be more patriotic citizens,’’ he said.
According to him, despite several efforts, including policy declarations and legislations to promote and encourage inclusive participation of young people in national development and decision making, there still remain huge obstacles to attain the desired goal. He said it is evident that young people are largely left out when it comes to critical national issues or discussions. Mr. Ceesay said each generation has a duty to pass on to the next.
“The Gambia is set to hold presidential elections in 4th December. This will be a crucial moment to consolidate and cement the democratic journey of our land. But it is also coming at a time when the country is deeply polarised. There is a rising tide of ethnic and religious-based hate speeches on the airwaves and social media, which pose the risk of creating social and political instability that can disrupt the progress of this country and cause chaos. I am confident that the deliberations you will hold and the discussion you will make will be highly instrumental and make you a patriotic citizen so that we can participate fully in the affairs of our country,’’ Ceesay said.
Lamin Saidy, youth representative for SOS focal person in Soma, urged the participants to focus and fully concentrate on the topics that will be presented to them, saying the training was timely and important. He called on the participants to also share the knowledge gained to their unbenefited colleagues.
Buba BF Jobe, a participant and native of Jarra Karantaba, said the training was educative because youths need to know about their civic rights and responsibilities.
“We were made to understand that we (the youths) have a big role as far as the country’s development is concerned which has boosted our confidence, morale and sense of belonging,’’ Jobe remarked.
Awa Jobe, another native of Jarra, said the training brought a lot of information to their attention that they never knew as a citizen of this country.
“I believe we would need more of this training at least every four or six months to enlighten us more about our civic rights, duties and responsibilities and also give chance to our colleagues who weren’t opportune to take part in today’s training,’’ she said.