Ansumana Ceesay, Senior Program Officer for the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has said that good governance fosters effective and efficient inclusion and participation in decision making processes in all forms and at all levels.
Mr. Ceesay made the remarks last Friday at Kerewan Regional Education Office conference hall during the opening of a training of regional and local decentralised structures to promote inclusiveness and participation of women and young people in grassroots governance.
The training, organised by his office in partnership with the National Youth Council (NYC) was funded by UNFPA through the UN Peace Building Fund (PBF).
This training under the theme "Inclusion beyond Participation: Youth and Women in Grassroots Governance" is aimed at creating a platform among regional and local decentralised structures to exchange ideas as well as enlighten and build capacities on the inclusiveness and participation of women, young people and Persons With Disabilities in grassroots governance.
The activity involves six (6) training sessions in six (6) Administrative Regions of the North Bank (NBR), Central River (CRR), Upper River (URR), Lower River (LRR) and West Coast Regions (WCR) and Kanifing Municipality.
About 270 participants from the decentralised structures (VDCs, WDCs, MDFTs, Mothers' clubs, youths & community leaders) including the physically challenged, across the selected regions will benefit from the training sessions.
SPO Ceesay pointed out that despite continued policy declarations and documentations, and domestic efforts to encourage inclusive representation and participation of women and youths in decision making, there remain structural barriers that thwart youths and women from contribution and participation in decision making process at both national, regional, and local levels, hence their low participation especially at the grassroots.
He therefore encouraged participants to keenly participate in the training and disseminate the knowledge and skills gained to those not fortunate to be part of it.
"As we look up to the forthcoming Local Government election in 2023, it is crucial we continue to have more engagements of this nature in an effort to bridge the gap in women and youth involvement in critical decision making levels," he noted.
He highlighted that progress will be a challenge, if more than half of the population who are women and youths are left out of policy-making and development processes.
He expressed NCCE's strong commitment to citizen's participation in governance processes, saying they believe no meaningful development, sustainable peace and matured democracy can be attained without the involvement of all regardless of status and affiliation.
Jongsaba Jawara, women representative said women and youth involvement is critical to national development.
According to her, the country's development was slow because of lack of involvement of women and young people in decision-making processes.
Fabala Kinteh, Chief for Lower Badibu District said with unity and respect among citizens, any endeavor will yield positive results for the country.
He called for the need to put the country's interest first for its development.
Momodou Lamin I. L. Bojang, Chairman Kerewan Area Council said decentralised structures are key in decentralisation and should not be under estimated or utilised.
He pointed out that the entry point for village developments are VDCs, noting that empowering grassroots structures enables them fully participate, take ownership and implement projects.
Alasana Jawo, Regional Youth Coordinator challenged young people not to only follow leaders but learn how to lead in the best possible ways.