Oct 22, 2008, 5:35 AM
The Association of Non-governmental Organization (TANGO) in partnership with the non-state actors’ strengthening program on 21st September 2011 concluded a three-day capacity building exercise on raising the awareness of stakeholders on the linkages between human rights and development. The training session was held at the Regional Education conference hall in Janjangbureh town, CRR south.
According to the organizers, the objectives of the programme include to empower duty bearers in the promotion of human rights and good governance in order to enhance national development through the application of human rights standards and principles in the development process.
The training was jointly conducted by the program manager of TANGO, Madi Jobarteh, and the National Coordinator of the Child Protection Alliance, Njundu Drammeh.
The programme further seeks to introduce right-based approaches in empowering duty bearers to understand their role as development workers and human rights defenders of citizens who are the rights holders.
“Right-based approach to development simply means citizens are rights holders who have a right to development, and that state institutions and officials are duty bearers who are obligated to provide development goods and services to the people” the activists said.
“There cannot be any meaningful development, if the people are not well-informed and skilled to take charge of their responsibilities as citizens, and work collectively to achieve their desired objectives”, said Madi Jobarteh.
Jobarteh went further to disclose that the project will last for twelve months, and that it targets duty bearers in Central River Region, Lower River Region, North Bank Region and the Greater Banjul Area.
He noted that the idea is to introduce rights-based approaches to development, as development is a human right.
The resource persons defined human rights as those rights that belong to every individual, man or woman, girl or boy, infant or elder just because one is a human being.
They said human rights cannot be given or taken away from anyone by any authority or person, and this is why Chapter 4 of the Gambian Constitution has entrenched provisions dedicated to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, which form the basis of the right of citizens to all development goods and services.
He emphasized that without the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights and development needs of people, one cannot therefore realize one’s full human potential and human dignity.
In various presentations using local and international legal and human rights instruments, Madi and Njundu noted that for far too long development workers and governments around the world perceived development to be merely a need which can be satisfied with the provision goods and services. But they pointed out that after many decades many societies have realized that despite the heavy investment in social and economic sectors, poverty continues to increase in many societies, while the standard of living dropped as well.
The trainers said the missing link has been the disregard of human rights as the basis of development hence, over the years, many development organizations such as ActionAid International or governments such as the European Union have realized that development must be focused on and approached from the perspective of rights.
This paradigm shift, Madi noted, informs the rationale for the project which TANGO is now implementing in order to raise the awareness and understanding of Gambian government officials to utilize the importance of rights-based approaches in order to improve development interventions and achieve national objectives.
The three-day training also focused on the issue of corruption, and how it impedes national development. They defined corruption as abuse of public or private office for personal gain or improperly or unlawfully enriching oneself or misusing of public power entrusted to one.
Many people have viewed human rights as negative or a foreign concept, but in the course f the three days, participants came to realize that the core issue in every society lies in human rights.
The chief of Janjanbureh, Seyfo Bakary Jam Jawo, spoke of the importance of the training. Chief Jawo added that the knowledge and skills learnt at the training session will be well utilized.
He commended TANGO and its partners for the bold initiative, and urged them to continue the good work.