Muhammed L Bojang
Tostan, a regional non-governmental organization (NGO) on Tuesday, launched a two-day national sharing seminar to discuss such issues as human rights and democracy, amongst others, at the Baobab Hotel in Kololi.
In his opening remarks, Edrissa Keita, the National Coordinator said currently Tostan works in 203 communities in the upper river region, predominantly among the main ethnic groups in the region.
“Over the years, we work very closely with all partners and sectors across the region, tackling things at the decentralized level where we engage the chiefs, village heads, village development committees, ward councilors, women councilors, National Assembly members and all other partners, and this year we are working with them to have their feedback, amongst others,” he remarked
Mr. Keita said they have started the preparatory activities in the CRR and from the first quarter of 2020 and that it was at an advanced stage, in close partnership with all the relevant stakeholders in the region from the governor’s level up to decentralized structures. He said they were quite far with the preparatory activities in order to upscale the program in 60 communities in the CRR, starting with four districts in the region. Therefore, he said that was the second edition of a national seminar where they engaged National Assembly members and different sectors and partners within the country.
“National Assembly members are key partners in the strategy and we have a political program that involves all development partners and institutions, and National Assembly members are indeed our key stakeholders as well as various other government institutions and partners. This is why we organized this particular sharing seminar to share with every one of you Tostan’s program objectives, our goal, our strategies, content and the way forward but also we will share briefly some of the outcomes of our implementation in the URR,” he added.
Mr. Keita went on to add that as policymakers and policy implementers, the National Assembly members, civil society organisations, and government institutions are quite relevant in the implementation of Tostan’s community empowerment programs that are implemented by Tostan.
In his intervention, Amadou Camara, the National Assembly Member for Nianija Constituency, speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the National Assembly Select Committee said, Tostan had been engaged in some activities with regard to women and children. He said as far as the Select Committee was concerned, they would collaborate and support the programs by the Tostan.
Tostan, in partnership with UNICEF through the Women’s Bureau, had been operating mainly in the Upper River Region since 2006. During this period, it had implemented the Community Empowerment Program within a three-year cycle through community empowerment engagement where it engaged the community on diverse issues such as governance, human rights, democracy, hygiene and health, project management, illiteracy, and SMS texting, amongst others.