By Baka B Dem
With the Gambia set to return to the polls in the forthcoming mayoral election, ‘Gambia Participates’, a youth-led organization, through funding from the International Republican Institute, recently organized a day civic awareness camp dubbed “Election TechCamp” for youths across the country.
The TechCamp, which was held at a local hotel in Senegambia, was meant to enlighten the participants on how to use technology to mass mobilize voters in the upcoming elections.
According to the founder of the organization, Marr Nyang, his organization initiated the TechCamp in 2016 shortly before the December 1, 2016 Presidential election in the country, with the aim to cut down the percentage of voter apathy in the country. This, he said, yielded positive results as they were able to mobilize a significant number of voter especially the youths to go out and vote.
With the positive outcome from the first camp, Nyang said they were inspired to stage another one for the local government elections which usually attract a lower percentage of voters compared to other elections in the country.
Robina Namusisi, the Country Director of International Republican Institute, the funders of the camp, said her institute was form decades ago with the aim of supporting the exportation of America’s system of democracy. According to her, the institute is currently empowering women, youths and youth-led organizations to realize their aims. She also said they are working with National Assembly Members of the country to help them understand their roles.
The participants were taken through a range of presentations by prominent individuals such as, Kawsu Bajie, Speakers of the National Youth Parliament, Sheikh Omar Sillah, Secretary General IVLP, Gambia and Saikou Jammeh, Secretary General of the Gambia Press Union.
At the end of the camp, participants expressed delight in participating in the event while acknowledging that they have learned key messages that they will use to mass mobilize their communities to vote during elections so as to curb the high level of voter apathy.