Under the UNDP funded project 'Support awareness raising on civic education through effective communication and advocacy intervention at LGA', the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) is currently conducting a ten day community Face to Face Sensitization on civic and human rights and training of Village Development Committees (VDC) on the Local Government Act 2002 in Central River Region (South) and the Upper River Region.
This is a continuation of similar activities under the same project that were conducted in the North Bank and Lower River Regions some weeks ago.
The activity, which took team B, led by the NCCE Programme Officer, Madam Isatou Bittaye, to Central River Region (South), kicked off on Friday, 21st December 2012. The team in their first day of the activity held a Face to Face Community Sensitisation on Civic and Human Rights in the villages of Bantanto, Bansang, Sololo Mandinka and Boraba in Upper Fuladu West. In these meetings, the villagers assemble in their village bantaba for what is described as an open debate which gives them the opportunity to listen to the lectures delivered by the officials of the Council and to make their questions and contributions.
In her introductory remark, Madam Bittaye gave the genesis and raison d'être of her Council which, she said, was established in 1998 after the coming into force of the 1997 Constitution by Act of the National Assembly.
Madam Bittaye said it is this that gave her Council the mandate of educating the citizenry on their civic duties and responsibilities. She explained in detail how the activities are geared towards educating the Gambian populace on their constitutional rights ahead of the forthcoming local government election in 2013 and building the capacities of VDCs as local government structures on the Local Government Act.
She emphasized the need for all citizens to know what their rights are as stipulated in the Constitution so as to guide them. She said her Council is doing everything possible to reach every corner or village in the country as mandated to them, but added that this cannot be achieved overnight. She said they have selected few villages in the five districts of the region were they would conduct their activities under the project and training of the VDC, Executive Members of these selected villages and that these will be held in the respective districts of Upper Fulladu West, Lower Fulladu West, Niamina East, Niamina West and Niamina Dankunku.
The NCCE Programme Officer expressed appreciation to the UNDP for their continued support to her Council to embark on activities that are geared towards educating the citizenry on their civic rights, duties and responsibilities and for the villagers for their response to their call in making the meetings successful.
Junkung K. Saidy, Civic Education Officer at NCCE, also expressed similar sentiments, while calling on them to disseminate the information gathered to others around them.
The participants made contributions in the form of questions and comments.
Kitim Ceesay, Alkalo of Sololo Mandinka, among other Alkalolu (village heads) described the meetings as timely and of relevance to their life. Musa Saidy and Jalika Fatty also expressed their gratitude to the NCCE and their sponsors for organising the meetings and suggesting more of its kind on a regular basis.