By Buba Gagigo
The Center for Policy, Research, and Strategic Studies (CepRass) has launched a new project aimed at strengthening citizens’ participation in Local Governance to improve transparency and accountability.
The new project running from August 2022 to July 2024 is in 3 phases. Phase I covers Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council, and Brikama Area Council; while Phase ll covers Mansakonko Area Council, and Kerewan Area Council; and Phase III covers Kuntaur, Janjanbureh, and Basse Area Councils.
In his launch statement, Landing B. Sanneh, Chairman Mansa Konko Area Council and President of the Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) said the project would clearly spell out how and why citizens should take active part in holding their elected officials to account.
“The project goals clearly spells out how and why citizens should take active part in holding their elected officials to account and also build the capacities of LGAs on resource mobilization, help government understand gaps in and/or challenges faced in service delivery of Local Government Councils to inform public policy formulation and decisions,” he said.
He said the project also seeks to create awareness among citizens through dissemination of the study findings via media platforms on the quality of service delivery by Local Government Councils to promote transparency and hold local governments accountable.
Sanneh said the project would strengthen the capacity of local government councils through conducting research and training on local governance with a view to enabling Local Government Councils to efficiently and effectively deliver service to the citizens and to help citizens to hold the local governments accountable.
On his part, Mamby Diouf, Programme officer at the National Endowment for Democracy expressed satisfaction working with CEpRass.
“We have been very proud as a partner in the Gambia. We’ve been working with them (CEpRass) for three years now. And we’ve been very satisfied with the work that they have been doing,” he said.
The project is meant to enhance citizen engagement in local policy processes to improve transparency and accountability; gauge citizens’ assessment of local government performance on health, education, agriculture, transportation, water, waste management, revenue mobilization, land transactions, and emergency and natural disasters; build the capacity of Local councillors on tracking council’s revenue mobilization and spending and Public Expenditure Tracking (PET) survey to ensure that public views are reflected into development planning; and capacitate Local Governments to track central and local government revenues and spending to be able to hold central governments to account and bring more transparency in the delivery of public services in their community.