By Aminata Ceesay
The Ambassador of United States of America to The Gambia, Patricia Alsup, has said that civic education requires a commitment to democratic ideals such as transparency, accountability, honest, and placing the good of the whole community above personal or family gain.
Alsup was speaking recently at the opening of a three-day civic education workshop on the role of youth and women civic society organizations in The Gambia at a local hotel in Bakau, organized by International Republican Institute.
She said: “Civic education requires that you hone your analytic skills and creativity so that you can constructively contribute to solving community problems. International republican institute has been intimately involved in the establishment of democracy and good governance in the Gambia for some time.
“In the run up to the December 1 presidential election, it was one of the only international organizations to actively conduct democracy and governance programming in the Gambia. Under the new admiration of President Adama Barrow every Gambian has the responsibility to intensify their process of self-development, which is also civic development.
“This is not easy work; it will require active participation in your local politics, either through a formal leadership position, or as an outspoken member of the community who holds those leaders to account. It requires a thorough understanding of the religious, social, political and professional customs of your community, and participating in them.”
Also speaking at the opening, the Africa Regional Director IRI John G. Tomaszewski, said: “Over the past nine months, each organization in this room has made the courageous decision to stand up for democracy and freedom. During our program in Dakar last October, IRI worked with your organizations to design civic and voter education projects based on Gambia’s constitution, electoral law and international best practices.”