Gambia, a global youth network of ActionAid International with funding from
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has recently ended three-day training on
democracy, at the Gambia Pastoral Institute along Kairaba Avenue.
The project was dubbed “enhancing democratisation processes through youth leadership.”
It was expected that after the training, participants would serve as advocates of democracy in their various regions and also make them understand their civic rights as the citizens of the country.
Alagie Nyang, Activista-The Gambia national coordinator said the project is aimed at increasing youth participation and involvement in decision making processes in the country. “If you look into our current status, you will realise that the involvement and participation of young people in decision making processes and in decision making bodies is not desirable because our involvement to a great extent is lacking,” he said.
He said youth have been facing lots of challenges from the inception but democratisation is a gradual process and it has to deal with understanding of the people and citizenry about what democracy is; what their role and responsibility is in ensuring that democracy is strengthened and consolidated in the country.
Omar Danso, the project coordinator said the project is geared towards enhancing the understanding of young people on democracy and their participation in decisions that affect their lives. “We understand that prior to the last political impasse in the country; politics is seen as thing of elders. Youth are always excluded because they feel that politics does not concern them but coming down to the impasse, we realise that there are many young people who have now understood the reason why they should participate in politics.”
Dawda Samba, vice chairperson of Activista board said it was high time for them to speak for themselves and does things that affect their lives.
“The Gambia is at a crucial and fundamental stage of its development. For any country I have visited since after December, the question that keeps coming is how is your country? How is the democracy in your country? And I will always hold my head high that Gambian young people have engineered the change that no other country in the world could without fighting,” he said.
He told the young people that if they want to become strong advocates, they must understand their constitution because that is what will empower them to talk and demand those rights between Section 17 and 34; chapter 4 of the Constitution which talked about fundamental human rights. Know your rights as advocates.”
Programme officer of Activista Ansuman Camara said young people constitute more than 50% of the population and whatever happens will bounce back at them. “When The Gambia is doomed, we will suffer the most. In most of the countries we see in Africa and around the world, when war or other calamities happen, it is always the young people, the children and women who always suffer.”