By Kebba Jeffang
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has disbursed funds to Activista-The Gambia, in the sum of about two million dalasi. The disbursement of the funds is aimed at increasing the participation of young people in politics through national sensitization campaigns. The project title is “Enhancing Democratization. Activista National Coordinator”
Speaking at the opening of the three- day inception workshop held at Action Aid on September 13th 2017, Omar Badjie, Executive Director of Action Aid International-The Gambia, highlighted the need for the creation of youth, political and decision making in the country. He underscored the importance of youth participation in the democratization process of the Gambia, thus enhancing transparency and accountability for good governance.
He emphasized the need for youths to hold duty bearers accountable, bearing in mind that there are still conditions that are hampering the inclusion of youths in decision making, such as youth unemployment, marginalization of youth in decision making processes, leading to illegal migration.
Mr. Badjie urged Activista to implement the project and report as stated on the contract which he said will enable them to secure more funds from donors as well as make other youth organizations benefit from such grants.
Dawda Samba, Vice Chairperson of Activista’s board of directors, said the project was timely. He said the grant that amounted to $45,878 will be implemented for one year.
“It’s not a surprise for the network to receive the funding as it has been the most vibrant youth network in the country since 2012. Those representing their regions, departments and organizations should take ownership of the project implementation to ensure the success of the project,” he advised.
Samba said the need for consultative dialogue with authorities, has been the strategy of Activista in creating a platform that promotes social accountability and transparency through interface discussions and constant engagement of authorities.
Alhagie S Nyang, Activista National Coordinator, said democracy is not based on the benevolence of leaders or the executive, that rather on the constant check of the powers of the executive by the citizenry. He urged young people to participate in the project, promote democracy and hold the leaders responsible.
Omar Danso, Activista Project Coordinator also challenged the youth to take up leadership and decision making roles and not to see themselves as mere followers.
“Youths constitute more than 64% of the demography of the nation. Yet they have little or no real representation in the political and decision making arena. We should create the political space if politicians do not want to provide it for us and to raise the awareness of youths on election laws, constitution of the Gambia, decentralization, role of youth in society for adequate youth representation in the upcoming local government elections in 2018,” said Danso.