United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and The Gambia Government through
National Population Commission Secretariat (NPCS) and partners on 27 December
2017 started an annual review and planning meeting at the Ocean Bay Hotel in
Cape Point, Bakau.
The aim was to critically look at the processes, successes, constraints, opportunities, and lessons learnt from the 2017 implementation of the programme and use the results to plan for the 2018 programme.
Kunle Adeniyi, Chief of Operation of UNFPA Gambia Country Office, said the process was an annual event thus it was more programmatic.
“We seek to review what we have done in the last 12 months to find ways of asking ourselves questions. What were the challenges, opportunities that existed,” he said.
Mr Adeniyi added that 2017 started with some reasonable challenges; and not least of them the uncertainty in the political process in the country.
He said they thanked God that they were able to come out of that and despite the challenges they were still able to carry on with the program and carry out all the activities to the people of the country.
He disclosed that UNFPA will launch a new strategic plan come January 2018, adding that in that strategic plan, everything they do must be aligned with the strategic plan of the organisation.
“It is an opportunity to narrow our efforts and do what we are supposed to do. Our work is to improve universal access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, reduce maternal mortality globally. We intend to address these with women and adolescent girls and youth,” he said.
Saikou J.K. Trawally, Director of National Population Commission Secretariat, said during the coming few days they would be busy taking stock of activities conducted with a view to critically looking at the processes, successes, constraints, opportunities, and lessons learnt from the 2017 implementation of the programme.
He added that the results of the review would be used to better plan for the coming year.
The meeting, he said, would also serve as a forum to clear differences and misunderstandings among stakeholders of the programme on pertinent programming issues in order to smoothen the way to a successful programme implementation.
“As we make strides towards realising the Gambian dreams of improving the quality of lives of all Gambians, striking a balance between population growth and socio-economic development still remains a concern for the government of The Gambia,” he stated.
In this regard, he said, the 8th country programme seeks to contribute to support national efforts to harness a demographic dividend through investments in sexual and reproductive health, the elimination of gender-based violence that hinders the potential of adolescents and youth, especially girls and reduction in poverty in The Gambia,” he said.
He said despite the above achievements, The Gambia was still faced with series of demographic challenges such as alarming population growth, rapid urbanisation and environmental degradation.
He said these and others constitute a major impediment to the national efforts towards achieving a higher quality of life for the people.
According to him, it was his hope that the review and planning meeting would come up with plans that would be geared towards effectively addressing the above demographic problems faced by The Gambia and help to pave a path towards sustained and sustainable development in The Gambia.