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" /> Voice Out Digital CepRass Project title launch marks another achievement in the democratization process-GALGA Boss | Voice Out Digital
Published On: Fri, Aug 26th, 2022

CepRass Project title launch marks another achievement in the democratization process-GALGA Boss

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Mr Landing Sanneh, the President of the Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) saidin his launching statement at the project launching of the Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, CepRass, with its project titled “Strengthening Citizens’ Participation in Local Governance to Improve Transparency and Accountability,” that the event markedanother achievement and indicator in their democratization process.

The project launching was aimedto enhance citizen engagement in local policy processes to improve transparency and accountability, and to incorporate citizens’ views in local policy decision-making processes to enhance accountability and service delivery.

The event staged at the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA) Conference Center, brought together various Councils’ Chief Executive Officers driven from different regions in the country among other stakeholders.

CepRass, an independent organization, was formed by the faculty members form the school of Business and Public Administration at the University of the Gambia set to engage in policy research and training that addresses the needs of its clientele.

Since its launch in 2016, the organization has independently conducted several research projects and training and in collaboration with national and international partners, while it has recently completed an opinion poll study on the presidential and parliamentary elections and currently doing a baseline study of the NAFA project under the National Nutrition Agency with her partner institutions in collaboration with C4ED based in Germany.

However, CepRass was last July awarded a two-year grant from the National Endowment for democracy on the project titled “Strengthening Citizens’ Participation in Local Governance to Improve Transparency and Accountability” with the goal to enhance citizen engagement in local policy processes to improve transparency and accountability, and to incorporate citizens’ views in local policy decision-making processes to enhance accountability and service delivery.

Mr Sanneh said that as the Gambia transited from dictatorship to a democratic system, the expensive price Gambians had to pay under dictatorship rule included the disaffection towards the democratic institutions and processes and high level of disengagement from active participation in governance. 

He therefore called the need for collective efforts by both bilateral and multilateral partners to help Gambia consolidate its new found and fragile democracy, and that with the advent of new creative ways of citizen participation and involvement, there is the need for a conscious civic engagement to increase the participation of people in governance.

Sanneh advanced that CepRass undeniably played a crucial role in consolidating Gambia’s democracy coming up with the first of its kind Opinion Polls, vindicated twice changed the dynamics of Gambian political phase. That since its inception, it continues to pursue its ultimate objectives by providing services such as research, training, and consultancy.

He said that the Gambia as a sovereign nation introduced local governance and decentralisation as part of promoting democracy, transparency and accountability in local service delivery within the country which aimed at bringing governance to the doorstep of the citizenry in order to encourage participation in decision making as well as implementation of services provided to them.

As government enacted the Local Government Bill by an act of the National Assembly in 2002, with all its structures and polices in place, he said part VI, Section 118 (4b) of the 2002 Local Government Act, stipulates that one of the functions of the Local Government Service Commission is to “make provisions for the overall management and efficiency of the Local Government Service”, while Part VII, Section 129 (a & b) of the same Act, states that “every Council shall be answerable and accountable to its electorate for all moneys which accrue to the Council from the electorate”; and “the National Assembly for all moneys appropriated to the Council from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, or otherwise.”

He concluded that the project is set strengthen capacity of local government councils through conducting research and training on local governance with a view to enabling Local Government Councils efficiently deliver service to the citizens and to help citizens to hold the local governments accountable. He further thanked the donors for funding such a significant project, and CepRass to have given Gambia a new democratic face and posterity.

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