We must break colonial barriers to create social integration, development

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Issued: Tuesday 27 March 2018

The president of a group who call themselves COPI, a regional association aimed to give home, shelter, education and sense of belonging to the internally displaced people in Senegal’s Southern region of Cassamance has been campaigning for more social interaction between the people of The Gambia and Senegal to break the colonial demarcation concepts.

Abdoulie Gassama said the two neighbouring countries apparently share everything in common and with more cresting, more social integration in the context of Senegambian concept, there is a lot they can learn from each other for development.

He led some members of COPI in Sindian in Senegal’s Southern Cassamance Region of Binjona to The Gambia last week on a two day working visit. They met their Gambian counterparts Young People Without Borders (YPWB) in Siffoe where they discussed and outlined projects and activities in the framework of the partnership.

In 2015, YPWB and COPI entered into a partnership in the areas of cross-border development integration in environment, peace building, social and cultural integration with a two-year rotational leadership, calling themselves People Without Borders for Peace and Development.

Mr. Gassama said their partnership with YPWB is based on real community development, saying they want to make the Senegambia concept a reality. “Gambia and Senegal are separated by colonial language but they share the rest of everything in common.”

He said the revitalisation of the Senegambian cultural heritage and development is their priority and social mobilisation is a concept they embrace to bring everyone onboard for social change. “Partnership is not an easy thing. You have to be truthful to each other for it to last,” he stressed.

According to him, through the partnership they have realised several changes including skills transfer, community development initiatives in education, environment and empowerment. “To bring change, we must first believe in ourselves. Our children need education and development.”

Kalifa Kanteh, president of YPWB and the current president of the partnership said their partners’ visit would avail them the opportunity to review their activities and outline new working strategies.

He said skills development is a key component of the partnership, saying they will maintain the commitment to provide basic and fundamental needs of students to enhance their education and motivate them to be focused.