By Adama Tine
Officials of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) have concluded training “Out of School” youth on leadership, civic rights and duties that would prepare them to transition into adulthood as responsible citizens in the country.
The trainings, held in Upper River, Central River and Lower River Regions concluded on Monday. And were aimed at enhancing the understanding of these youth on civic rights, duties and public resource management to responsibly assume their roles in national development.
The trainings were supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) through the UN Peace-Building Fund (UNPBF) – under the theme: “Nurturing patriotism and responsible citizenship among young people.”
Ansumana Ceesay, senior programmes officer at NCCE said, the trainings were meant to nurture patriotism and responsible citizenship among the young people, who he said are the future of the country. “This is the second time these activities were funded by the same partners,” he added.
He explained that the activities involve two trainings in each of the three selected administrative regions, making it six trainings in total.
Ceesay added that it is evident that young people are largely left out when critical national issues or discussions are being made. He further said that the few interventions in which young people are involved, the out of school youth are left out, which he said was why the NCCE found it prudent to target this critical mass of young people in our society.
Mr. Ceesay pointed out that each generation has a duty to pass on to the next as not only a full functioning government responsive to the needs of the people but the tools and skills to understand and improve it, saying without extensively and actively consulting and listening to each other especially young people’s needs and views, policy-making and development processes become one-sided and hence will fail to serve the greatest good of all in the country.
“The Gambia is set to hold presidential elections on 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 poses the risk of creating social and political instability that can disrupt the progress of this country and cause chaos,” he stated.
Lamin Saidy, youth representative for SOS Vocal-Persons in Soma urged participants to focus and fully concentrate on the topics that will be presented to them, saying that this was ‘timely and important,’ while calling on participants to also filter down the information to their colleagues who could not benefit from the training.
Buba BF Jobe, a trainee and native of Jarra Karantaba said: “I see this training very educative because a lot of things that we went through were exactly what the youth needed to know about their civic rights and responsibilities.
According to him, the rights, leadership and duties of the youth is very essential as well as how youths should love their country not only by word but also by action. “NCCE today made us understand that we have a big role as far as the country’s development is concerned which has boosted our confidence, moral and sense of belonging,” he noted.
Awa Jobe, also a native of Jarra Karantaba highlighted that she learned a lot of things during the training which she did not know prior to the training.