By Mustapha Jallow
Alhagie Sering Faye, the Chairperson of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), on Monday called on Government to urgently address their challenges such as the provision of enough vehicles and the state of their institution, and funds to ensure that citizens are well informed on their civic rights.
The NCCE is mandated to reach-out to citizens across the country and sensitize them on good-governance and other rights such as peace-building, the electoral process, democracy and non-violence and national unity.
According to Faye, because of the above challenges, they find it difficult to fulfil their activities. Faye made these and other remarks at their head office in Kotu.
He explained the challenges the institution faces and calls on Government to find funds and allocate land to build the NCCE’s own head office, and to also provide them with the requisite equipment and new vehicles.
“NCCE should be provided with land to build its offices in order to maintain their credibility because renting is not helping us at all,’’ he said. Faye added that mobility is one aspect of the work description of the NCCE; that they have to traverse the entirety of their respective catchment areas from districts to the local communities and ultimately to the national level.
“The most important thing is mobility because you’ve to be mobile to be able to reach-out to the people. So, to carry these duties, one needs resources, and the subvention from government should be increased,’’ he said. He continued: “The amount of money we have accounts for our goods and daily services, our TV & Radio program inclusive, and the maintaining of vehicles, fueling them and so on. But the resources provided are just not enough. Most of our vehicles are old. The engines of some of these vehicles are weak due to over-usage. Really Government should look into our concerns and increase vehicles and open regional offices as well. We need regional offices with staff, so that when we are not in the local communities, the staff on the ground will make the communication at the grassroots easy. To do this, we need financial resources, motorcycles, vehicles and extra staff to man these offices.’’
The NCCE Chairperson said the institution really needs urgent support from Government; that not only in money but to links them with other local and International NGOs that work along civic education lines, civic rights, responsibilities, governance and so on; that through this, they will able to get the things that will keep them going and can build their profile. Faye said their intention is to professionalize the institution; that this cannot be done without the needed staff that will continue the Institution’s work.
Chairperson Faye called for Government to make social platforms such the national TV and Radio, to be free for them if they really want Gambians to be aware of their citizenship rights.
“Without the intervention of Government, things will continue to be difficult for the NCCE. Air time on State TV costs D75,000 per hour. For State Radio the cost is D2,500 per hour. Both State TV and Radio should be free for NCCE’s work which is for national development and public awareness,’’ he concludes.