After observing the Ramadan break, the Never Again Network (NAN) on Thursday 4th May 2023, resumed its Right to Know Campaign with a successful engagement with Jabang Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School in the West Coast Region. The engagement was aimed at enlightening both students and teachers on the Never Again concept, and to prepare their minds and hearts in standing against all forms of abuse, injustice, and indiscipline in Gambian society.
Moderated by NAN Outreach Coordinator Bubacarr Sambou, the engagement brought together about a hundred students and some teachers of the school. On behalf of the School Principal, the Vice Principal of the school gave the welcoming statement during which she emphasised the importance of such an engagement which was expected to enlighten the students on their civic rights and responsibilities. She assured the Network of her school’s support and indicated that her office doors are always open for NAN.
Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty, Deputy National Coordinator of the Never Again Network explained the Never Again concept to the students. Mr. Fatty reminded the students about Gambia’s recent past which was marked by dictatorial governance and all the bad things that happened in it. He also highlighted steps that were taken in the form of a transitional justice process to address that past while ensuring never again. However, he was quick to remind them that as citizens we all have the responsibility to make our society good by being good citizens. If everyone practices goodness and honesty in what he/she does, we will have a happy society. Being a good citizen, Mr. Fatty said, also includes wishing for everyone what one wishes for oneself. We must be willing to live together peacefully regardless of our religious and/or ethnic backgrounds. As Gambians we are so interrelated with each other that it is almost impossible to categorically distinguish between tribes because everyone is related to everyone else. Mr. Fatty used himself as an example of someone who shares a mother with siblings from another tribe. He urged all to jealously guard the peace and stability of The Gambia. He also reminded the students that having the right to participate in the selection of our leaders gives us the right to hold them to account if they are not doing what is expected. We must not be scared of them such that they can choose to do whatever they feel like even if we don’t want that, he said.
Speaking on ‘how we can help our parents’ and ‘how we can help our teachers, NAN team members Sainabou Fofana and Momodou Bah respectively urged participants to be disciplined and dedicated to being good students and citizens. They emphasized that the best method of help students could give is being respectful and obedient to the advice of their parents and teachers.
Ebrima Yarboe of NAN also addressed the students on ‘how we can help our country’. He started by reminding them about the upcoming Local Government Chairs and Governorship elections and urged them to play their first role in helping their country by participating and making good choices and voting for competent people. He emphasised that one will do a great favour for his/her country if he/she is wise in selecting leadership by seeing competence over anything else. He concluded by reminding them that there are laws that govern every society including schools, and that therefore citizens will do a great favour to their country if they are law abiding and maintain peace and order.