The CSO  consortium through Forum For African Women Educationalist Gambia Chapter (FAWEGAM) under the STAR project, in partnership with Future in Our Hands The Gambia (FIOHTG), The Association Of Non- Governmental Organizations (TANGO);Enhancing civil society capacity for increased participation in the implementation of the NDP in the Gambia conducted a regional dialogue sensitization as well as a Participatory Evaluation of the National Development Plan (NDP in the seven educational regions of the Gambia from 11th – 16th of June, 2022. This activity had targeted three hundred and thirty- four (334) participants but three hundred and thirty-seven (337) participants were reached in total in these six regions namely, Region one of the greater Banjul and Kanifing Municipality, Region two of the West Coast Region, Region three of North Bank Region, Region four of Lower River Region, Regions five north and South of Central River Regions and Region Six of the Upper River Region. This is an ongoing activity that will be conducted annually in all the regions targeting one thousand (1000) participants in a period of three years of the project life span.

However, the National Development Plan (NDP) makes provision for citizens’ involvement in its implementation, monitoring and evaluation framework. For this reason, government as part of its critical enablers recognized civil society as a valued partner in national development. The CSO through FAWEGAM collaborates with relevant stakeholders such as Directorate of Development Planning under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs as the coordinating ministry on the development and implementation of the National Development Plan, embarked on a country wide regional sensitization and participatory evaluation of the NDP

The situational analyses presented in the mid-term evaluation of the NDP points to wide range of gaps between urban and rural Gambia, as well as between its various regions with regard to the various socio-economic indicators. It underscores the importance of tailoring development interventions to address these differences and more adequately cater for needs of communities – “The Government therefore, adopt a regionalized approach to development with the principal aim of closing the gap between rural and urban Gambia and between the respective regions, especially between the western and eastern halves of the country.”

It is against this background that FAWEGAM with facilitation support from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs proposes a roadmap for policy Dialogue on the NDP across the regions; outlining the set of activities that are needed, ranging from raising awareness and advocating for the active participation of local actors in the implementation and achieving of the NDP.

North Bank Region, Regional Dialogue opening statement by Education Regional Director in Kerewan.

Objectives and scope

The overall objective of the dialogue and sensitization was to build upon the momentum already generated in the Advocacy exercise and ensure the process of needs assessment with CSOs targeting actors in Education such as mother’s clubs, cluster monitors, teachers, head teachers and education officers, regional Technical Advisory Committees (TACs), media, local government authorities, students and other players across the seven Administrative Areas at the grassroots.  It will also update participants on The Gambia’s progress towards the implementation of the NDP to get feedback from stakeholders regarding the NDP priorities and ascertain their relevance and role and how they support and contribute to the acceleration of NDP and SDGs implementation in The Gambia. The interface will also strengthen future working relations to ensure that NDP is well understood and implemented effectively. The Annual Participatory Evaluation of the NDP by CSOs is aim at documenting perceptions on the progress of implementing the NDP that will inform the development of the NDP annual progress report.

The specific objectives are to:

  • To create institutions and citizens’ awareness and perception at all levels, engagement and ownership of NDP in order to catalyse and sustain momentum for development and transformation
  • Take stock of the progress, challenges and lessons learnt during the NDP implementation in order to deepen local Knowledge and make development processes more inclusive and participatory.
  • Increased understanding of the impact of COVID-19 and strategies for recovery

Upper River Region, Regional Dialogue in Basse and Deaf School head interpreting to 2 students right

Methodology and approach

The popularizationand participatory evaluation of the NDP by CSOs including Education actors and other relevant stakeholders at regional level, was highly interactive and participative ensuring all participants, share their experiences and provide the needed inputs.

The NDP policy dialogue covered six days with key presentations on the planningprocess of the NDP and its priorities, NDP Midterm evaluation and the status of the next Plan. The activities included the following:

  • Presentation of NDP introduction (Meaning, purpose, stages of NDP development, implementation and evaluation Use of traditional communicators and community radio stations
  • Presentation on the current NDP implementation with special emphasis on Education, climate change and environment, as well as gender mainstreaming.
  • Presentations Mid- term NDP evaluation report / and the status Development stage of the new NDP

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