May 4, 2011, 2:04 PM
The Voluntary Service Overseas VSO The Gambia on Tuesday 6th July 2010, held its annual conference on the theme "funding development programmes-A Paradigm Shift."
This year's conference was held at Sunbeach Hotel in Cape Point, Bakau.
The main highlight of the convergence was the presentation of lead papers by distinguished resource persons, followed by discussions. The objectives of the forum were to create awareness of how international development funds works, and to identify what resources are available at national and community levels, so as to enhance sustainable development.
Wednesday's conference was also aimed at sharing tools and techniques of mobilising development funds and resources.
In her welcoming address, Haddijatou Lamin Njie, the Country Director of the Voluntary Services Overseas The Gambia said despite numerous efforts by the government of The Gambia and development partners, to meet the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper II (PRSP II) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target, mobilising resources to cover sixty-four million dollar (USD 64, 000, 000) annual funding gaps still remains a challenge.
According to her, the food and fuel crisis, coupled with the financial turmoil affected remittances, foreign direct investment and most important of all, capital inflows to support development interventions.
"Meeting the PRSP targets by 2011 and the MDGs by 2015, calls for a rethink of the development financing landscape. We need to think out of the box and come up with innovative approaches to meet the targets that we all signed up to," she said.
According to the VSO country boss, this year's theme is a concern to all developing nations, including The Gambia. He noted that annually VSO selects a conference theme that is relevant to the various development interventions in support of the poor and disadvantaged in The Gambia.
She expressed hope that the forum would be utilised to increase awareness on international development funding, identify available resources at the national and community levels, and finally share tools and techniques for mobilising development funds to support a result-oriented implementation of their development programmes.