“When my mandate started, in 2018, it was not lengthy after the top of the dictatorship [The two-decade rule of Yahya Jammeh]. The brand new Authorities was already embracing a number of reforms concurrently, reviewing the structure, the judiciary, and the safety sector, and the UN had allotted funds for peacebuilding.
Reality and reconciliation
An necessary improvement was the institution of the Reality, Reconciliation, and Reparations Fee (TRRC), with the backing of the UN and different companions.
Individuals have been enthusiastic to embark on the Fee, which has been crucial for the nation. Expectations have been excessive from the victims, from the inhabitants, but in addition from completely different companions. It was necessary that it ought to be a Gambian-driven course of, to keep away from any affect from outsiders. We helped to set it up and offered the mandatory experience to run it.
The Ministry of Justice must be strengthened, as a result of they’re main that course of, and that is the primary time that they’ve needed to face a case like this. Right here once more, we’re offering the experience to work on a roadmap that may result in implementation of the Fee suggestions.
We’re concerned in communications linked with the method: we wish to be sure that the communities, native governments, and civil society all know what position they should play, and handle expectations. These reforms should not going to occur in at some point, it would take a few years, and we have to ensure that is known.
Now it’s time to place reforms into apply. To this point, the Authorities has launched a white paper approving virtually the entire suggestions. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the method, however I feel that they’re nonetheless dedicated to do extra.
Laying sturdy foundations
It’s essential to have a authorities that reveals management. If not, you possibly can define a imaginative and prescient for the place you assume the nation ought to go, however you gained’t get anyplace.
We’ve supported the Authorities’s creation of a Division for Strategic Planning and Supply, throughout the workplace of the President. We’ve skilled the workers, and proven them greatest apply in different nations.
Once we arrived, there was no Minister for Gender, so we advocated for a brand new ministry to be established, and we’re seeing progress when it comes to girls’s empowerment.
Popping out of a twenty-year dictatorship, the place human rights have been abused, we supported the creation of a Nationwide Human Rights Fee, which is absolutely practical and, in some ways, a centrally necessary establishment, which can monitor the implementation of the TRRC.
Going ahead, it’s essential for The Gambia to achieve constructing sturdy establishments, one thing which is true for all nations. If establishments are weak, you possibly can’t implement any plans, and also you waste sources.
I feel that this nation is shifting in the correct course. We’ve many extra companions now, and the donor neighborhood is rising. After a five-year interval, the transition is almost full, and we’ve got helped the Authorities to put the foundations for a lot of the reforms, insurance policies, and methods.
Altering lives for the higher
Apart from supporting the reforms, we’ve been an energetic associate in creating the economic system, empowering girls, and local weather motion.
When it comes to the economic system, the place tourism performs an necessary position, UN companies have targeted on offering coaching for younger folks and weak teams reminiscent of returning migrants, and giving them seed capital to start out their very own companies. Typically, returning migrants really feel like a burden on their households, however with our assist lots of them have been in a position to thrive.
Sadly, it is a nation the place there may be important violence in opposition to girls, together with feminine genital mutilation. Generally girls don’t wish to speak in regards to the violence they undergo, so we’ve got arrange hotlines they will name, and constructed centres the place they will go to be handled, and obtain help.
The local weather disaster is affecting The Gambia, notably when it comes to flooding; final 12 months was the worst flooding skilled right here in 38 years. It will not be on the size of the floods seen in Pakistan however, for a small nation with a small inhabitants, it made a big effect.
Our companies offered meals and shelter for these displaced by the flooding, and offering clear ingesting water, however we’re additionally serving to the inhabitants to adapt, and develop into higher ready earlier than the subsequent floods arrive.
I’m assured that we’ve got modified lives for the higher in The Gambia. We’re nonetheless within the early levels, however I consider that we’ve created strong foundations for improvement, and that we’ll see even larger influence within the subsequent 5 years, and see the nation develop in a cohesive method, in all areas of the nation, with nobody left behind.”