Yusupha Bojang was speaking on Tuesday at Essau during the conclusion of an eight-day training for 320 Village Development and Ward Development Committees in four regions of the country.
The training, supported by the UNFPA The Gambia under the peace-building project and conducted by NCCE, was aimed at increasing understanding of WDCs and VDCs on the Local Government Act.
Beneficiary regions were Lower River, Central River and Upper River, and North Bank. The theme for the trainings was ‘strengthening decentralized structures for improved local government administration’.
Bojang on behalf of his chairman maintained that they observed that awareness was lacking among VDCs and WDCs especially on their mandate, which he said, is the reason why development is lacking in communities.
“It is important that Village Development Committees (VDCs), Ward Development Committees (WDCs), Alkalolu and councilors work together in harmony for the development of their communities and the country as a whole”.
He also observed that conflicts especially between Alkalolu and VDCs in most Gambian communities are as a result of their limited knowledge on their mandate, roles and responsibilities.
He thus described the work of VDCs, WDCs, and ward councilors as important especially when it comes to community development, saying it is therefore important for each to know their mandate, roles and responsibilities.
Kebba Jallow, councilor of Essau Ward urged participants to share the knowledge gained with their respective communities.
He described Alkalolu as the principal advisers of VDCs, adding that ‘if they know that, there will not be any misunderstanding among them’.
Jallow equally reminded that the country belongs to all of us and as such people should work together towards its development.
“Let us put the country first and not our individual positions,” he added.
Bakary Juwara, UNFPA National Program Associate noted that government established various structures within communities to ensure everlasting peace and decentralization of development.
He consequently underscored the role of women and youth in Village Development Committees and to ensure their development aspirations are captured in community action plans.
This, he added would encourage them to take ownership of community development activities.
“UNFPA’s mandate includes ensuring a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person realizes their potentials. There cannot be sustainable development if VDCs and WDCs do not know their mandate” he added.
Alagie K. Saho, Councilor of Pakau Ward, thanked NCCE for the training, which he said, would empower them to know and do their work easily.
Alh. Abubacarr Sonko, deputizing for chief of Lower Nuimi underscored the role of Alkalolu, VDCs and WDCs working together for the development of their areas.
He therefore stressed the need for people to do away with politics and focus on the nation’s development. “Politics has its time,” he added.