(Thursday, 5th September 2019 Issue)
A six days training on social cohesion for peace building is currently underway at the Gambia Pastoral Institute (GPI). The training is organised by Catholic Development Office (CADO) Gambia in partnership with Catholic Relief Service (CRS).
Francis Mendy, head of CADO said peace-building is essential in applying Catholic social teaching in practice, saying “As Catholics, we are called to cherish and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, to foster the common good and to defend the option for the poor.”
He said these guiding principles inspire them to build a just and peaceful world by transforming structures and systems to make them more equitable and inclusive.
Mr. Mendy said the purpose of the training is to further strengthen the skills of participants, to build the capacity of partners and beneficiaries on peace-building and social cohesion, and to be able to identify potential causes of conflicts and understand the 3Bs/4Ds and social cohesion strengthening.
He noted that Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Development Office initiated a peace-building project in the 2017 fiscal year to build the capacity of Christian and Islamic religious leaders, the laity, police and soldiers, and the National Assembly Members, to support the TRRC agenda.
He said CRS focuses on promoting peace through the roll out of the Agency’s 3Bs/4Ds social cohesion methodology. “Revelations from the TRRC testimonies about mistrust, disharmony and lack of communications between and among groups have made it more critical for the country to scale up this concept,” he said.
He said recovery from identity conflict requires problem-solving approaches that accommodate all parties and interests, incorporating meaningful participation from a broad-base of community members, and focusing on long-term effectiveness. “Therefore, Gambia needs to focus on ensuring that citizens and those residing in the country live in freedom from fear and want, in an environment of peace and stability followed by truth, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing for social cohesion.”
Beckt Adda-Dontoh, peace and development advisor at the UNNDP Gambia office said it is refreshing for them to see that CADO-Gambia is taking peacebuilding and social cohesion seriously, and investing in strengthening capacities for peace.
She said The Gambia needs the collective effort of every citizen for sustainable peace and development.