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No sustainable development without the people

Aug 4, 2011, 1:15 PM

For a truly democratic and participatory development to take place anywhere in a modern nation state, the people must have access to information.

Information ensures public awareness, from which people can make informed choices.

Such choices may include, but not limited to assessment of political and economic regimes.

It will also include opportunities for the governed populations to help evolve strategies that are relevant and appropriate for the achievement of successful and meaningful development.

Governments and local authorities should, therefore, avoid any form of top-down imposed approaches to development.

Regarding a country’s revenue, it is government that knows best what is available and what is in the pipeline, but the people usually know best what is more relevant to their national and social development, and where priorities are best accorded.

In The Gambia, it can be said that such participatory approach has yielded important results in most sectors of development: women-in-development projects, farming kafoos, and similar organizations.

What is needed, however, is more dissemination of information for the entire population to stand informed and be better placed to contribute more zealously, committed and effectively to the sustainable development of the country.

When the people are in effect denied information by public institutions and bureaucracies, this ultimately and ironically hinders national development and the progress that these public institutions have been set up to achieve.

When this happens, the process ceases to be a democracy, as a government by and for the people is effectively eroded.

In such situations, development may be possible, but not sustainable.

“Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.”

Peter F. Ducker