By Samsideen Ceesay
Activista-The Gambia, a global youth network of ActionAid International with funding from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has recently organized three-day training on democracy at the Gambia Pastoral Institute along Kairaba Avenue.
The project dubbed ‘enhancing democratization processes through youth leadership’.
It is expected after the training participants will serve as advocates of democracy in their various regions and also make them understand their civic rights as the citizens of this country.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Alagie Nyang, the national coordinator of ActivistaThe Gambia, 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 realize 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 added: “We face a lot of challenges from the inception but democratization is a gradual process and it has to deal with the understanding of the people and citizenry about what democracy is what their role is and responsibility 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 in the country prior to the impasse you will realize that politics is seen as thing of elders. Youths are always excluded because the young people feel that politics does not concern us but coming down to the impasse, we realize that there are many young people who have now understood the reason why they should participate in politics”.
Dawda Samba, the vice chairperson of Activista Board, said it is high time we spoke for ourselves and did things that affect our 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 the young people of the Gambia have engineered the change that no other country in the world could without fighting”, he said
He added: “If you want to be an advocate know your constitution because that is what empowers you to talk and demand those rights between section 17- 34, chapter 4 of the constitution talks about the fundamental human rights. Know your rights as advocates”, he concluded.
In his welcoming remarks, Ansuman Camara, the programme officer of Activista, said: “The young people constitute more than 50% of the population and whatever happens will bounce back to us. When the Gambia is doomed, we will suffer the most. In most of the countries we see in Africa or even in the world when there is war or calamities it is always the young people, the children and women who always suffer,” he said.