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CRS trains security personnel on Social Cohesion for Peace Building

Aug 6, 2021, 1:16 PM | Article By: Adama Tine

In their quest to creating social cohesion for a peaceful Gambia, the Office of National Security in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), on Thursday began a six day training of security personnel on Social Cohesion for Peace Building at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Senegambia.

Speaking at the opening, Baba Balajo, the CRS country rep. revealed that CRS implements emergency response and recovery programming in The Gambia when disaster strikes. Flooding and violent windstorms have affected over 10,000 people across all five administrative regions of The Gambia and women and children are the most vulnerable and are susceptible to major risks including food security, malnutrition, disease outbreak and lack of adequate shelter.

According to him, CRS is also contributing to the fight against malaria in the country and responsible for the distribution and administration of long lasting insecticide treated bed-nets and Behavior Change Communication (BCC) components of the Global Fund Malaria project.

Balajo further disclosed that CRS has distributed more than 1.5 million bed nets to children under five, pregnant women, a greater part of the population and also implemented projects in agriculture and peace building in specific regions.

For his part, Momodou Badjie, National Security Adviser, Office of National Security, said primarily, social cohesion and peace building is an important determinant of a peaceful, democratic and prosperous nation which creates stronger bonds within and across different diverse groups and fosters greater trust in institutions of government.

He highlighted that during the SSR assessment and consultation across the length and breadth of the country, it was found out that there was some mistrust and sometimes hostilities between different identity groups and now translating to ethnic and political tensions.

“As a country undergoing significant transformation and rapid change while confronting multiple socio-political and religious fault lines and hostilities, the workshop is considered timely as there is a pressing need to create and sustain a cohesive society equipped to withstand and embrace the change and challenges ahead,” he explained.

However, Badjie said social cohesion is not the sole responsibility of the government alone. The local government, civil society, non state actors, media and the people of The Gambia all have a responsibility and an important role to play in shifting unfit cultural norms and creating a public consciousness that recognises the many commodities shared between our diverse groups.

Salimata E.T. Touray, deputy secretary general from the Civil Service, disclosed that works on the security sector reform have commenced with the objective to establish an effective and accountable security sector under democratic control with respect for human rights, the rule of law and the fundamental principles of good governance.

She added that the government of The Gambia is committed to the security sector reform which has resulted in the development and launch of the National Security Policy, National Security Strategy, and Security Sector Reform Strategies.

According to her, the collaboration between the CRS and the Office of National Security will lay a foundation for social cohesion which will sustain the peace that every patriotic Gambian cherishes. “As the Security Sector Reform progresses, we must bear in mind that we are transitioning from a traditional security concept to a modern security concept, which focuses on human security as the basis for national security,” she explained.

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