By Awa Macalo
The Centre for Policy Research and Strategic Studies has launched a project on strengthening citizens’ participation in local governance to improve transparency and accountability.
The project is aimed at enhancing citizen engagement in local policy processes to improve transparency and accountability, and to incorporate citizens’ views in local policy decision-making processes to enhance accountability and service delivery.
Lamin Dampha, executive director of CepRass, said the project is an outcome of the opinion poll conducted by his office ahead of the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“CepRass undeniably played a crucial role in consolidating Gambia’s democracy. Before our very own eyes they came up with the first of its kind Opinion Polls, vindicated twice and changed the dynamics of the Gambia political phase. The Center since its inception continues to pursue its ultimate objectives by providing services such as: research, training, and consultancy. The centre envisaged to complement the efforts of organisations (private, public, local, and international) in their drive to evolve a participatory, active, accountable, efficient and effective involvement of citizens in holding the government to account in ensuring transparency.”
Landing Sanneh, president of the Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) in his statement, emphasised on the importance of such a project, saying that it is a way of holding officials into account and encouraging active participation of citizens in local government matters. “The project goals clearly spells out how and why citizens should take active part in holding their elected officials to account and also build the capacities of LGAs on resource mobilization, help government understand gaps in and/or challenges faced in service delivery of Local Government Councils to inform public policy formulation and decisions; it also seeks to create awareness among citizens through dissemination of the study findings via media platforms on the quality of service delivery by Local Government Councils to promote transparency and hold local governments accountable;
To strengthen the capacity of local government councils through conducting research and training on local governance with a view to enabling Local Government Councils to efficiently and effectively deliver service to the citizens and to help citizens to hold the local governments accountable,” he concluded.