Over forty women and youths from Kanifing Municipality and Banjul on Wednesday attended a day-long seminar on women and youths’ participation in politics.
The seminar, held at the National Nutrition Agency, was organised by the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The theme was “Enhancing women and youths’ political participation and representation”.
In her opening remarks, Bintou Fatty-Joof, Programme Officer at Women’s Bureau, West Coast Region, on behalf of the Executive Director, explained that decision-making is a mental process of selecting a course of action from a set of alternatives.
She said the participation of citizens in the decision-making and political process is a civic responsibility, noting that the political participation in fact matters in the life of every individual human; being it be men, women and youths.
She called on the participants to recognise the giant strides made by the Government of The Gambia under His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa in bringing gender equality and women empowerment in the country.
“It is time for women to have trust and confidence in female candidates who opt to contest for elections in their respective constituencies to increase female participation in decision-making processes,” Joof advised participants.
Welcoming the participants, the Chairman of the National Council for Civic Education, Alhaji Serigne Faye informed participants that the seminar is part of the ‘Election Project for The Gambia 2016-2018 elections cycle’ and that the seminar is aimed at enhancing knowledge on the importance of women and youths participation in politics and election representation in decision-making institutions.
He further said this is a nationwide initiative of NCCE and will be conducted in all the regions of The Gambia targeting 300 women and youths.
As a national institution, Faye noted that the NCCE is mandated to educate and create awareness among the citizenry on their civic rights and responsibilities. He said the institution is always out in the field to interact with various segments of the population, adding that it is evident that most young people have little or no interest in politics and governance.
According to him, for democracy and good governance to be attained there must be inclusiveness and participation by the citizenry, adding that having more than half of the country’s population not participating effectively in political affairs, means the views and concerns of half of the population are not represented.
The NCCE boss maintained that it is prudent to come up with such kind of seminar that will empower women and youths with the necessary information and tools to enhance their participation and representation in politics.
“Sustainable economic and social development requires the full and equal participation of women, men, girls and boys”.
by Lamin B. Darboe