August 20, 2020
By Yusufu S. Bangura
The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) on Wednesday, 19th August, organized a one day message validation workshop on the theme ‘Enhancing civic culture in Sierra Leone.’
The one day workshop was held in the conference hall of the Council of Churches- Sierra Leone (CCSL).
Dilating on the purpose of the workshop, Director of Programmes at NCD, Kalie Sillah, said the mandate of the commission is to create an enlightened, peaceful, democratic and just society in which citizens are empowered to enjoy their rights of citizenship and to discharge their responsibilities with the attitude desirable for national unity and development.
He said they organized the one day message validation workshop to provide quality assurance to the three civic messages developed at the just concluded workshop held on the 12th August.
He added that the commission is collectively required to provide intellectual and technical leadership to ensure that the content of the messages meet the accepted high standard, adding that they are responsive to the peace, security and governance challenges in the country.
He continued that both the message development workshop and the validation workshop were critical components of NCD’s communication strategy and also one of the deliverables deduced from their annual workshop title “Promoting and Consolidating Democratic Governance”.
He noted that the two primary objectives of the workshop was to ensure that high quality messages are produced by determining the validity, significance and originality, and also to improve on its quality and make it suitable for outreach purpose based on their targeted audience.
He said one of their critical components of their work is to educate citizens.
Sillah stated that there was a need to validate the three civic messages before translating them into jingles aimed at educating the general citizenry of Sierra Leone on the behavioral pattern needed to improve democratic good governance in the country.
He said they would focus more on young people and communities in the rural environment.
On his own part, Chairman of NCD, Dr. Abubakarr Hassan Kargbo, said the message validation workshop aimed at validating the messages put together by experts last week.
He said three groups worked on three main topics that will be translated into six local languages including Mende, Limba, Temne, Krio, Kono and Fullah.
He said after the validation, jingles would be produced in three different areas, political tolerance, national unity and cohesion, early warning and conflict prevention and lawless and rule of law, adding that those critical areas in the body politic that must be addressed aimed at promoting peace democracy and good governance.
He said the rationale behind putting those messages together was primarily the need for Sierra Leoneans to be educated on how the general citizenship should behave in their respective communities in general and the state in particular.
He said it was against that backdrop that Sierra Leoneans must not only become mere active participants in the governance process, but also the process itself must be in the hands of those who have the requisite knowledge.
“This is the more the reason why the commission has embarked on educating the critical mass of the people of Sierra Leone to become more aware about the governance process and endorse the opportunity to promoting the objectives of the state of Sierra Leone. I want to encourage our distinguished validators that there messages should be carefully couched in a way that will appeal and attract the minds of the people of Sierra Leone,” he said.
He said the validation workshop was also mandated with the task of approving the script for jingles on the identified themes, as well as approving messages designed for social media.
He said it was expected that during the validation exercise the professionals and experts would work together during the workshop and would do an excellent job that would be anchored on the basics of consciousness characterized by constituency and quality assurances, to ensuring that the quality ideas and jingles are cogently communicated to the citizens without ambiguity.
He continued that the validation workshop would serve as a means of verifying that the materials for production and jingles are truly in accordance with what was accepted last week and it must also guaranteed that there was no contradiction between what has be planed and what is actually realized.
“Our nation is faced with a serious challenge with many people relying on harassing to form views and opinion on issues of national importance that has serious implications, not only for the promotion of democratic good governance, but also for the maintenance of peace and stability,” he said.