‘Gambia’s environment not very supportive for child protection’

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By Mariam Sankanu & Amie Taylor

Njundu Drammeh, the National Coordinator of Child Protection Alliance, has revealed that the current environment of the country derails efforts in fighting for the protection of children.
Speaking at a press briefing on Friday at Child Fund the Gambia, Kanifing ahead of the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, Njundu said The Gambia’s environment is not very prepared for the protection of children.

“Do we have the tools? Do we have the resources? Is child protection environment in The Gambia really ready to respond?” Njudu quizzed.
He said the two strands of child protection, being prevention and response; the prevention aspect is carried out by NGos “But do we have the response environment?”he added.

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According to him, we can have the best of intentions, but without adequate resources, they cannot be accomplished. “Even in the national development plan, the intention is to have three social workers for every twenty-thousand of the population. So, if that is what they want to achieve, then we know that even social welfare does not have the man power to respond,” he said.
One of the major constraints of social workers being the lack of adequate resources, Mr Drammeh advised the government put in more resources in the social sector.

“You cannot have a department of social welfare that does not even have a vehicle. You cannot have offices where you have only one trained social worker for the whole population in North Bank Region. For a whole population in URR. That is unacceptable. So we need to also ensure and advocate that the state puts in resources for the social sector,” he said.
Fama Barry, a representative of GAMCOTRAP said the society should do away with the “maslaha” syndrome as this makes the work of social workers harder.

A representative of Social Welfare called on the media to help make their work easier. He said there are certain scenarios in which they will have to pay the media first before getting the services they need, which he said is the responsibility of the media.
Child Fund has several federations in The Gambia that help them towards achieving their goals. Representatives from other child protection organisations stated their plans towards helping children.
Day of the African Child, celebrated on June 16 every year, is scheduled to be celebrated in The Gambia on 26 at Tanji.

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