By Olimatou Coker
The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) on Saturday began a 9-day community engagement forum to sensitise Gambians on early warning signals emerging at the community level.
The countrywide engagements are funded by the UN PeaceBuilding Fund (PBF) through UNICEF under the theme “Inclusive Approaches to Early Warning: Addressing Emerging Peace and Security Challenges at The Grassroots.
It is meant to discuss and critically diagnose and analyse challenges and threats to peace and security through community early warning mechanisms.
NCCE program manager, Yusupha Bojang, explained that the sensitisation forums will be characterized by face-to- face reflection sessions in the Upper River Region (URR), Central River Region (CRR) & Lower River Region (LRR) targeting over 315 participants from women and youth groups, community leaders, chiefs, alkalolou, village development committees and physically challenged persons among others.
According to Bojang; “The Gambia has made great gains in the consolidation of democracy since the removal of an authoritarian rule five years ago, however, this transitioning has presented new challenges such as widespread polarization characterized by the use of abusive language, hate speech, misinformation, provocative actions, intimidation, and confrontations in public discourse. Overcoming these challenges to place the country in a strong and stable democratic trajectory, require inclusive and collective efforts by all and sundry.”
He expressed optimism that the engagement will foster collaboration between the stakeholders, enhance timely response to violent threats through early warning systems and promote the maintenance of peace, security and social cohesion.
The program manager reiterated NCCE’s commitment to continue facilitating such interactions to further build harmony and lasting communal peace as well as consolidate a mature political culture that allows all citizens to fully exercise their civic rights and responsibilities, as well as participate effectively in nurturing and consolidating our democracy.
Ndey Bandeh, Secretary General of the Basse Mother’s club, thanked NCCE for always reaching out to them in preaching peace and tolerance among the populace.
She acknowledged the Council’s efforts towards raising civic awareness of the citizens especially in the rural areas.