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Social Forum Gambia holds consultative meeting on way forward

Jul 16, 2015, 9:07 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

Social Forum The Gambia yesterday organised a day’s consultative meeting with the objective of revitalising and creating linkages between the secretariat, membership, as well as other social movements at the local and regional levels.

The forum was held to map out the way forward, and develop a one-year action plan, as well as to discuss resource mobilization.

The event, said to be funded by the EU and ActionAid International The Gambia (AAITH), was held at the Tango Conference Hall in Kanifing.

In his opening statement, Omar Badjie, Country Director of ActionAid The Gambia (AAITH), applauded the hosting of the forum while assuring all of their support and commitment to activities of the Social Forum.

Mr Badjie mentioned the building of good relations with Senegal on the issues of the Social Forum, such as building networks and alliances.

He further highlighted the importance of sharing the information discussed in all social forums, adding that social forums are important because they provide an opportunity for the discussion of many pertinent issues affecting the lives of people, as well as to find ways and means in helping to solve such problems.

He cited water shortage as one of the major issues that affects the lives of many in the world.

Badjie took the US as an example, saying it one of the richest countries in the world but still faces water shortage problems.

“It is indeed very vital to sensitize the public, as well as to engage the government on burning issues that affect the lives of people,” he said.

The importance of developing an action plan, as well as working towards resource mobilization, was crucial in this regard, he said.

“The Social Forum is not about doing concrete implementation such as building structures; rather it is about coming up with burning issues affecting the lives of many, as well as to help and solve the problems in the form of advocacy,” Badjie went on.

He cited climate change as an issue that could be looked at by Social Forum, to be able to advocate for government to have good policy towards ending it.

He also spoke on the reduction of membership, calling this “disappointing”. He further urged the members of the Social Forum to be working on motivational factors to attract members to participate, such as holding regular meetings, among other things.

He also urged the participants to make the best use of the forum, as well as put resolutions in place that could be worked on.

In his remarks on the occasion, Alfusainey Khalilu Jabbi, Operations Manager at NAOSU, spoke on their strategic partnership in dealing with some of the issues that members of the Social Forum are engaged in, particularly poverty eradication, climate change, food and nutrition, security among others.

Jabbi noted that the Social Forum could play a very important role in making the world a better place for living, particularly in The Gambia, through collaborative actions of civil society organizations together with the governments.

In the case of The Gambia, he noted, this collaboration could be pursued along the five pillars of the national development blueprint -the PAGE, and the objective of Vision 2020, for growth and development.

Jabbi also assured all of the assistance of the NAO support unit and their commitment to activities of the Social Forum, and other stakeholders in The Gambia through support to the implementation of Gambia-EU Cooperation projects and programmes by building the capacity of civil society in such areas as project proposal writing, responding to call for proposals, managing development results and monitoring and evaluation, among others.

“It is our expectation that by the end of the consultative workshop, there will be an established Social Forum, as well as high level of both membership and participants in realizing the objectives of the Social Forum,” he said.

“I, therefore, would like to enjoin the forum and its members to make good use of the opportunities that are available,” he added.

Amadou S.O. Taal, chairperson of the Steering Committee of the Social Forum, highlighted the aims and objectives of the forum.

Part of their aims, he said, is revitalization of the forum and creation of linkages between the secretariat, membership, and other social movements at local and regional levels.

They also prepare reports on the outcomes of the Africa Social Forum and the World Social Forum held in Dakar and Tunis, as well as review relations with sub-regional forums, map out the way forward, develop a one-year action plan and discuss resource mobilization.

Yadicon Njie-Eribo delivered a presentation on the Post-Mortem of the World Social Forum 2015.

Ousman Yabo, executive director of Tango, chaired the occasion.