Pro-poor Advocacy Group, in partnership with local communities across the country, on Wednesday converged at NaNA conference hall in Kanifing for a daylong interface forum on participatory budgeting.
The forum that attracted five participants from each region was organised by Pro-PAG and funded by the European Union through the non-state actors strengthening programmes in The Gambia.
In his official opening remarks, the executive director of Pro-PAG, Omar Ousman Jobe, noted that the forum came at the end tail of a series of consultation meetings that started since April 2007.
According to him, Pro-PAG did consultations in all the eight regions of the country, adding that after each consultation meeting, five people were chosen to participate in the interface forum who have contributed to the generation of those priorities from the regions.
The interface forum, according to Mr Jobe, was held for Pro-PAG to be able to give the participants the space to engage with the sector planning unit.
He thanked the director of Planning at the Ministry of Education, Mohammed Jallow, and a representative of the planning unit under the Ministry of Agriculture, for their active participation in the meeting. The outcome of the forum would be taken to the various ministries for the finalization of their budget, Mr Jobe said.
The forum was also held to present to the sectors the development priorities emerging from the recent consultation for consideration, to create a forum where the representatives of the communities can have an opportunity to engage and dialogue with the different arms of government on their priorities.
Another objective was to enable the sector to capture the divisional priorities of the budget, as well as to give government a chance to demonstrate its commitment to Pro-PAG projects and programmes.
He noted that the mission was to serve as a watchdog agency to advocate for improved standards of living for the poor.