The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) has organized a day’s message development workshop on the theme: “Developing Civic Culture in Sierra Leone.” This was designed to provide an opportunity to thoroughly assess several messages with a view to selecting the most appropriate ones that would be suitable to deal with the current political situation. The event which hosted over forty (40) carefully selected experts participants on messaging, took place on the 12th August, 2020 at the Conference Hall of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone.
Addressing the participants, the Hon. Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Ambassador Foday Yumkella underscored the need to enhance civic consciousness. He emphasized this point by making reference to political scientists who believe that the higher the number of civic consciousness who participate in democratic processes, the greater the likelihood that the principles of democracy will be respected.
The Minister also noted that the suggested themes from which the messages will be developed during the workshop are appropriate to increase citizen’s civic consciousness and democratic-decision making power.
Ambassador Foday Yumkella further reiterated that the messages the workshop will produced at the end of the process will be translated into jingles and as a result serve as a powerful vehicle for awareness raising targeting young people across the country.
The Minister also ascribed the recent spate of lawlessness that culminated into violence as a result of lack of civic morality. He emphasized that civic morality requires a collective sense of responsibility for the public good where public gains are seen as far more important than individual gains.
The Political and Public Affairs Minister urged participants to collectively brainstorm and come up with civic oriented solutions to address the issues ranging from national unity, political tolerance to cohesion.
In his welcoming remarks, the Chairman of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD), Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo also reiterated the significance of the workshop noting that key messages will be formulated and made into jingles in six local languages including, Mende, Temne, Limba, kono and Fullah.
The Chairman said the strategy is aimed at affecting the minds and behavior of the people of Sierra Leone so that they can think and behave like good citizens manifesting civic responsibility.
Emphasizing the importance of the workshop, Dr. Kargbo also reinforced the importance of such civic education exercise cannot be over emphasized because it does not only enhance civic responsibility of citizens, but also promote peace and stability which is a pre-requisite for socio economic and political development.
Presenting the purpose of the Workshop, the Director of Programmes, Mr. Kalie Sillah stated that the Commission decided to organize the workshop with the aim to brainstorm on several governance challenges with a view to formulate messages from three thematic areas that include: (i) National Unity, Political Tolerance and Cohesion, (ii) Early Warning and conflict Prevention and, (iii) Lawlessness and the Rule of Law. He noted that the Commission had therefore selected communication professionals drawn from various spheres of the profession including poets and musicians, to brainstorm, guide and produce the messages.