By Bakary Ceesay
The AfriCare Initiative (TAI) in collaboration with other peace advocates in The Gambia is ready to hold ‘The Peace Conference’ through a National Dialogue slated for 15th and 16th November 2019.
The two days national dialogue which will be held through a conference in Banjul is meant to discourse issues relating to the maintenance of peace and reconcile divided Gambians ahead of the proposed December protest which might bring chaos and destabilize the peace of the nation.
Among other things, The Peace Conference aims at building capacities and strengthening engagement of Civil Society Organizations, three years/five years ‘Jotna’ Groups, government agencies, UN Agencies and other concerned institutions in The Gambia on a national discourse on the state of the matter ahead of the planned ‘December Protest.’
Commenting on the forthcoming National Dialogue, Marie Sock, director of The AfriCare Initiative said the conference seeks to promote and strengthen youth leadership skills for good governance and democracy. Added that it will also enhance the participation of young people in decision making skills and electoral processes promote human rights and related concepts “and as well encourage women to participate in democratic processes.”
Madam Sock noted that CSOs from different levels are communicating on a regular basis, they are inspired and empowered to speak in a coherent manner to a wider range of stakeholders. Also expanding their capacity to be involved in policy discussions, implementation and monitoring thereof.
She stressed that government and development actors in The Gambia must collaborate and accelerate efforts to facilitate the creation or strengthening of platforms for civil society groups and movements in the promotion of peace and maintaining peaceful co-existence in the country.
The conference, she note, is an opportunity for the CSOs in the country that are already promoting peace, to come together in this pursuit. Noting that if this put into good use, many believe would drive the country to rapid economic transformation, socio-cultural advancement and political development.
However, she said, the Gambia’s unity and development depends on how well its civic resources are nurtured, deployed and utilized.
The Peace Conference on the promotion of peaceful co-existence in The Gambia with theme ‘Rethinking and Acting on the Situations of the New Gambia: Giving Peace a Chance for a Better Co-existence’ will be hosted by The AfriCare Initiative with Gambian Peace Activist James F Mendy.
As part of the pre-conference activities among other things, AfriCare Initiative as local organizer will invite renowned activists and CSOs within the country including the Three Years ‘Jotna’ team. This will enable them to share their stories and dialogue peacefully on a positive way out to avoid chaos in December.
Also, TAI is in consultation with experts on the challenges that are the contributing factors towards the increase in shrinking space of civil society organization in West Africa which is to be identified.
However, the conference thematic areas of discussion include democracy and human rights, conflicts and its damages, Diasporas influence among others.