United States Embassy in Banjul has committed to promoting the country’s human
rights, democracy, and accountability, peaceful and stable society, according
to Ambassador Patricia Alsup.
She told this to journalists on Tuesday at a three day Inter-political Party Dialogue held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
The American ambassador disclosed that the funding for the Inter-political Party Dialogue came from the U.S. Embassy in Banjul. She added that last year, they provided a grant to International Republican Institute (IRI) to do a series of activities under the project titled: “Promoting Tolerance, Pluralism and Community Cohesion in The Gambia.”
She added that IRI in turn has used part of that grant to jointly sponsor the programme with the Gambian Chapter of the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), saying they are proud to contribute to strengthening of Gambian Civil Society through IRI.
“We have supported the projects of Activista The Gambia, Beakanyang, Gambia Participate, Future in Our Hands, Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), Gambia Press Union, Hopes of Tomorrow and The National Youth Parliament. “These organisations have received grants through IRI worth approximately $230, 000 to implement a wider range of projects. For example, they have trained journalists, organised radio programmes featuring political party candidates, and outreach on civic education and voter awareness; they organised community dialogues to forge peaceful co-existence, focus on topics such as human rights, the rule of law, good governance and conflict mitigation; they have held leadership training for marginalised groups, including women and youth; and they have helped produce materials used by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).”
Ambassador Alsup highlighted that the activities have covered all the regions of the country and have reached approximately 30, 000 people. She added that under the projects, community leaders were trained on how to conduct interfaith, inter party and inter common dialogue.
“After their training, they were provided platform, through town hall meetings to communicate the importance of local elections and discuss ideas about how to peacefully co-exist. During those town halls, it became clear that political differences are the most common sources of conflict in many communities. It also became apparent that youth are vulnerable to being mobilized by political parties and candidates to engage in violence designed to disrupt political activities during elections,” she reiterated.