Jun 13, 2013, 11:22 AM
Thirty local authorities from Kuntaur Local Government Area recently concluded a three-day capacity building and strengthening training in Kuntaur.
The programme, according to officials, was organised by the West African Network for
In her welcoming remarks, Madam Pamela Cole, national network coordinator for WANEP, underscored the importance of the forum, adding: “This project has a lifespan of twelve months and is targeting Mansakonko and Kuntaur and Janjanbureh Local Government Authorities.”
The project aims to strengthen the capacity of local government authorities (LGAs) in carrying out its mandate as outlined in the Local Government Act, for effective service delivery.
According to Ms Cole, the promotion of the principles of good governance in order to make LGAs relevant for the purpose of which they are constituted, WANEP Gambia through this project has continued to provide capacity building training programmes for staff of the LGAs, local councillors, communities and members of the civil society, on the provisions of the Local Government Act and its amendments, for them to be proactive about peace building, mediation and negotiation.
For his part, Lamin O. Ceesay, programme officer for WANEP, says the art of governance is complex; its challenges and problems are confronting The Gambia on creating the enabling environment.
Mr Ceesay said: “The cumbersome exercise of decision-making and policy implementation requires efficient, independent, accountable and trained personnel that are equipped for the task at hand, thus requires a participatory process to accommodate views and suggestions from communities in order to make informed decisions and to develop appropriate strategies for effective planning and implementation of programmes under the Councils.”
He continued: “It is clear that there are governance structures in place backed by legal provisions for governance at local level in promoting transparency and accountability for effective service delivery.”
According to him, it is anticipated that the LGAs can reliably serve as conduits for generating community responses and targeted interventions of central government in bringing about peace and development.
Participants were also reminded of the recently validated baseline survey report from the local government areas of CRR and LRR on capacity assessment for decentralization and peace-building in the Local Government Administrative Areas of Mansakonko, Janjanbureh and Kuntaur to give information on the activities of the project.
In the same vein, the chairman of Kuntaur Area Council, Mamat Mbye, hailed WANEP for their foresight in enlightening and empowering the area councils to better improve their service delivery in bringing about developments to the staff and other stakeholders and people of the LGA.
He added that the project would go a long way in enhancing the capacity of the LGAs to bring about sustainable development and peace for the LGA communities.
“Despite the constraints the council is facing, it is still doing its best in supporting community developments across the Local Government Area,” he said, calling on other development partners to emulate WANEP-Gambia to come up with programmes and projects to empower the local councils.
He commended the EU for providing strategic support to WANEP-Gambia for the implementation of the project.
Wassabo Darboe, who represented the Governor at the occasion, expressed delight at WANEP for bringing such a project to the region.
“This wonderful initiative in supporting the area councils in the region to improve their service delivery and build peace is a step in the right direction,” he said.
According to Mr Darboe, the government through the Ministry of Local Government and Lands has created development structures at all levels in empowering the local communities to take charge of their own developments through appropriate approaches and strategies at grassroots level.
He commended WANEP for supporting Kuntaur Local Government Authority. “The Government of The Gambia under the able leadership of President Yahya Jammeh has created an environment conducive for development partners to operate smoothly in line with the government’s policies and instruments as enshrined in the Vision 2020 blueprint,” Mr Darboe said.