The Gambia is set to hold presidential elections this year, and Mr. Ceesay said it is important people avoid tribal politics and insults ahead of the December elections.
He made these remarks at Wellingara Ba during a training of ‘Decentralised Community Structures on Civic Education and Inclusive Participation in Decision-Making Processes in Regions’.
The twelve-day training organised by NCCE is supported by UNICEF Gambia, through the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF).
It is being implemented in 12 communities in URR, CRR and LRR with four venues in each of the regions.
The trainings target about 480 participants from Multi-Disciplinary Facilitation Teams (MDFTs), Village Development Committees (VDCs), Ward Development Committees (WDCs) and Mothers’ Clubs.
The trainings are “meant to promote civic education to increase inclusiveness and participation in decision-making in grassroots governance”.
Ceesay noted that most citizens still do not fully understand politics and democracy.
He highlighted the importance of grassroots structures’ inclusion in decision-making processes.
He further said that if MDFTs awareness is raised, it will enhance their work with communities.
The NCCE senior programs officer also said that VDCs have a critical role towards the development of their villages but observed that they are always at loggerheads with alkalous as a result of lack of awareness on their roles and responsibilities.
“VDCs in the country needs training”, he posited, adding that Mothers’ Clubs role in ensuring girls stay in school is also very important.
He appealed for more support from government, NGOs and other donor partners in order to further intensify the continuous training of citizens on their rights and duties.
According to Mr. Ceesay awareness does not mean being materially rich but to be well-informed about those civic rights and duties, as well as commitment to volunteer, work and invest resources towards the development of communities.
He also said that most youth and women are not also involved in decision making processes as well as excluded in grassroots decision making. He said they are stakeholders and should be involved.
Fatou Saidykhan, a community health nurse said the training has improved her knowledge on issues and expressed her willingness to share the knowledge gained during the training.
She urged NCCE to continue the community engagements and appealed to government to support NCCE to expand such trainings to communities across the country.