Jul 18, 2014, 10:50 AM
The Gambia-European Union Cooperation office Wednesday convened a daylong stakeholders meeting at the Ocean Bay Hotel to introduce and discuss the way forward for a new project, called “Access to justice and legal education”, which is out to contribute to better democratic and economic governance through improving access to justice and legal education.
According to officials, the project is a component of the EU-funded government programme in The Gambia to the tune of 2.7 million Euros.
Officially opening the meeting, the representative of the EU Charge d’ Affaires, Josselin Amalfi, said they are pleased to introduce and mark the kick-start of the new project, called “Access to Justice and Legal Education”.
He noted that a total budget of Euro 10 million is available for the implementation of the governance programme in The Gambia, equivalent to D550 million.
Access to Justice and Legal Education is a project funded by the EU to the tune of Euro 2.7 million equivalent to D150 million to contribute to access to justice and legal education, for especially women.
The project would also contribute to democratic and economic governance through improving access to justice and legal education, training and research skills and improved information and management of cases, Mr Amalfi said.
According to him, the project would have a national scope, and would identify in its inception phase and in first year of implementation, the pilot district/regions, where its activities would be executed, in addition to the Greater Banjul Area.
It would also have a direct impact on gender, human rights and good governance in The Gambia, he said.
Gender equality, especially issues relating to women, would be dealt with through ensuring that justice matters, particularly relevant for them (e.g. family, inheritance) are addressed through the project activities, and also with the development of activities specifically targeting the access of women to justice, he added.
Mr Amalfi further stated that the major stakeholders that the project targets are the Ministry of Justice, Interior, Judiciary, Ministry of Local Government and Lands, the Gambia Bar Association, the National Agency for Legal Aid, the University of The Gambia law faculty and Human Rights NGOs/CBOs.
Lamin Camara of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs said the project was an agreement signed between the Gambia government and the EU in February in 2012.
The workshop focused on two dimensions, which are to introduce the firm contracted by the EU, and to discuss the project in detail, as well as to create better understanding of the context and overall scope of the project.
Mr Camara said the Gambia government has been and is still committed to creating an enabling environment aimed at improving good governance and accelerated private sector growth.
He said the project would complement the government’s efforts at realising improvements in all sectors of the justice system, including the customary justice sector, which is reported to be the primary gateway through which the Gambian people access justice nationwide.
He challenged both the implementers and beneficiaries to make the best use of the forum to ensure the project was set on the right footing, and on the road to success.