Councilors, VDC chairpersons trained on Peace Building, Conflict Resolution

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Elected ward councilors and chairpersons of Village Development Committee (VDC) recently undergone training on peace building and conflict resolution.

The training was being organised by the West African Network for Peace-building (WANEP)-The Gambia and the Ministry of Interior with support from the UNDP.

Salama Njai, WANEP coordinator informed that The Gambia has laid the foundation for reconciliation, national unity and social cohesion with the existence of the ongoing Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Security Sector Reform among others, saying such reforms are diverse, accompanied with security challenges from political polarisation, tribal rivalries, misconceptions and disputes around natural recourse.

She noted that elected ward councilors and VDC chairpersons are critical in maintaining peace and tranquility for peaceful coexistence in the country.

“You are convened here to help promote dialogue and civic consultations in managing and preventing conflict both at the national and grass root levels. It is true that local Councilors and VDCs have loopholes in knowledge and skills to prevent and adequately resolve emerging and complex communal disputes at local level in the country’s transitional process and that is why this training is paramount,” she said.

Assata, representative of UNDP said peace building and conflict prevention mechanism is part of her office’s programme of actions in rendering support to build existing mechanism and to help strengthen national and local capacities for sustainable peace.

“Gambia has an enviable record of remaining relatively peaceful in a sub-region that is known for violent conflict, despite the challenges of a 22-year dictatorship rule.”

Representing the Ministry of Interior, Manding Saidykhan said the training would expose participants to the concepts of peace building and conflict resolution, such as mediation, negotiation, reconciliation and arbitration, as well as stakeholder analysis in peace building and conflict resolutions.

Mr. Saidykhan said the government has made significant strides in consolidating peace and democratic government with the ongoing reforms, such as TRRC, SSR and CRC.

“These are all in line with the 2018-2021 Gambia National Development Plan.”