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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Actionaid International support The Gambia office

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A team from the International Secretariat of ActionAid International is in The Gambia on a two-week co-ordinated working visit. The purpose of the visit is to support ActionAid International The Gambia to build on what they already have in terms of documentation to enhance effective implementation of its Country Strategy Paper (CSPIV), and develop high quality programme objective plans. The visiting team will focus on two out of the four strategic objectives in ActionAid’s fourth CSP. These are women’s land rights & climate resilient sustainable agriculture and promoting the rights of women.  The visiting team comprises Simon Sentamu – capacity development officer, Celso Marcatto – technical officer on sustainable agriculture of ActionAid International, Christy Abraham – international co-coordinator – Women’s Human Rights and Lamin Touray – fundraising manager, child sponsorship.

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On Wednesday 14 May, the team members and senior staff of AAITG held a meeting with the permanent secretary at the Office of the Vice President and key members of staff. The focus of the discussion centered on policy perspectives, partnerships with civil  society and bilateral and multilateral agencies to see how best ActionAid can augment government’s development efforts in relation to climate resilience sustainable agriculture, and the socio economic advancement of Gambian women and youth. 

Lamin Nyabally, the permanent secretary at the Office of the Vice President, was informed that ActionAid works closely with the communities and distributed relief items to affected people during the last 2011 food crisis, provided training on climate resilient sustainable agriculture, provided support during pest infestation of farmlands, sensitised farmers and other stakeholders on agriculture and natural resources policy and conducted community consultation exercises on issues of climate change. 

Team member Celso Marcatto spoke about the importance of combining science and indigenous knowledge which he said can contribute a great deal to the enhancement of smallholder farmer’s food security, and can help them to adapt to climate change.

Permanent Secretary Nyabally touched on a wide range of issues stating that climate sustainable agriculture and the advancement of women are indispensable in any development process. Nyabally noted that Africa is the most vulnerable and that The Gambia is feeling the pinch of climate change. He therefore called for adaptation measures, the strengthening of the capacities of communities on climate resilient sustainable agriculture and strengthening partnerships with relevant departments and ministries to jointly develop plans for effective implementation.  

On the issue of women’s advancement, Nyabally noted that The Gambia has aligned itself to several instruments that promote the advancement of women. He reiterated the need to focus on education, health and economic empowerment of women. Though fertility rates and maternal mortality rates have dropped in the Gambia, maternal and infant mortality rates is still an issue along with stunting and wasting. The focus therefore is on sexual and reproductive health rights issues. He commended ActionAid for “the good work being done in the country” and urged them to provide support to the National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which aims to advance the cause of Gambian women. 

The delegation to the Vice President’s Office included the vice chairperson of the AAITG board Dominic Mendy, the executive director of AAITG Omar Badji and his senior staff, and members of the visiting team.

The team has already held talks with staff and partners of AAITG including relevant government ministries, UN agencies, NGOs and CSOs. A national workshop with relevant partners is scheduled to take place from Monday 19 to Thursday 22. It is expected that at the end of the visit, at least two programme objective plans would have been developed for strategic objectives one and two of ActionAid’s Country Strategy Paper IV (CSPIV) and the capacity of AAITG on quality programme design enhanced, among other key outcomes.

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