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 Paradise Suites Hotel.
Baba Balajo, CRS country Representative 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 when 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.
Momodou Badjie, National Security Adviser Office of the President 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 diverse groups and fosters greater trust in institutions of government.
He highlighted that during the Security Sector Reform assessment and consultation across the country, it was found out that there were 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 are pressing needs to create and sustain a cohesive society equipped to withstand and embrace the change and challenges ahead,” he said.
Salimata E.T. Touray, Deputy Secretary General disclosed that works on the security sector reform has commenced with its 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.