Sep 7, 2010, 11:53 AM
The chairperson of the Board of Directors of ActionAid International The Gambia, Janet Sallah-Njie, has told journalists, civil society and local government officials that accountability is one of the cornerstones of good governance.
Mrs Sallah-Njie, who was speaking yesterday at the opening of a two-week intensive training course on accountability for civil society organizations, local government authorities, parliamentarians and journalists at the Njaliba Hotel in Kololi, stressed that the importance of accountability at personal, institutional, organizational or national level cannot be overemphasized.
Organized by ActionAid International The Gambia in partnership with the West and Central Africa Regional Office and the MS TCDC Training Centre in Arusha, Tanzania, the training session is expected to enable various institutions to refocus their commitments and set standards for measuring performance towards achieving both mission-related objectives and living true to organizational mandates.
It is also expected to broaden the knowledge base of participants in governance accountability towards building a sustained partnership among development practitioners.
“Accountability ensures actions and decisions taken by public officials are subject to oversight so as to guarantee that government initiatives meet their stated objectives, and respond to the needs of the community they are meant to be benefiting, thereby contributing to better governance and poverty reduction,” she stated.
She explained that it is pertinent to note that issues relating to accountability and good governance are not only applicable to public officials and government institutions, but that the concept of accountability; referring to the ways by which individuals or groups are held responsible for their actions, have gained increased momentum.
These concerns about accountability, she went on, are increasingly being raised, from a variety of quarters, in relation to civil society organizations and popular social movements, whose role in contributing to and shaping public life in communities around the world can no longer be ignored.
Janet Sallah-Njie further stated that some high profile scandals involving non-profit organizations have attracted public attention, and done serious damage to the overall credibility of civil society groups.
Such instances, she added, have not only motivated external audiences to question whether civil society organisations’ accountability mechanisms are sufficiently robust and developed, but have also led to an internal drive from within the sector to develop improved tools and processes for ensuring accountability.
Speaking earlier was Dr. Kujejatou Manneh, ActionAid International Country Director, who gave a brief account of the purpose of the training, adding that much is expected from the participants.
She underscored the importance of accountability in the development of any democratic society, while noting that her office is committed to bridging the gap and helping to eradicate poverty and hunger.