By Olimatou Coker
The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has recently trained over 250 out-of-school youth on leadership, civic rights and duties to prepare them for transition into adulthood.
The 6 days training, funded by UNICEF, was held at Wassu in the Central River Region.
Speaking during an interview, Ansumana Ceesay, senior program officer at NCCE, said out-of-school youth have the skills, knowledge, and time to contribute meaningfully to national development if they are supported.
“Similar training was held in Mansakonko and Kwinella in Lower River Region; Wassu and Janjanbureh in Central River Region; Nyakoi/Taibatu and Basse in Upper River Region on the theme: catching them young; cementing patriotism and responsible citizenship among young people,” he stated.
He added that the forum is designed to provide youth with information on leadership, civic rights, and duties as a means of enhancing their participation in matters of governance; enhance a culture of constitutionalism where citizens uphold and defend the highest law of the land.
He further explained that the role of out-of-school youth are essential, and therefore called on people to change their perspective towards them as dropouts and not important in society.
“Everyone can be a civic leader by using their skills, knowledge, and time to volunteer in the development of their community. Public goods management is a problem in the country with most people thinking that what belongs to everybody belongs to nobody,” he added.
Ceesay urged participants to organize step-down trainings for their respective communities.
Fatoumatta Leigh, a youth representative from Leba Malick Mbye, said: “Now that I know my rights and duties as a citizen, I will be able to sensitize my community particularly the youth.”
She said a lot of youth suffer in communities because they do not know their rights and duties as citizens, and therefore appealed to NCCE to expand their outreach to other communities.
Sheikh Tijan Njie, a youth representative from Kaur, challenged youth to unite and work towards the development of the nation.