A four-day training of trainers' workshop on democracy and governance for effective decentralisation was recently organised for at least 40 people in the Lower River Region (LRR).
Implemented by the West Africa Network for Peace building-The Gambia (WANEP-Gambia), the training was organised within the framework of the one-year Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) funded project, dubbed, 'Promoting grassroots democracy and effective decentralisation'.
The objective of the training was to contribute to capacity strengthening of community-based organisations, groups and associations, for wider participation and representation, while providing trainers with knowledge and skills on networking, advocacy, organisation and communication.
The participants, drawn from North Bank and Upper River Regions, included 14 women and 26 men; representatives from local government, community and faith-based organisations, associations and groups.
In his opening remark, the deputy governor of the region, Abou Njie emphasised the need for community participation and to work together with the local government for effective decentralisation of the process.
For her part, the national coordinator of WANEP-Gambia, Pamela Cole encouraged participants to make use of the opportunity and focus on the deliberations.
Meanwhile at the end of the four-day conclave, participants were exposed to concepts and principles of democracy, the decentralisation process with a focus on the Local Government Act 2002; the structures, roles and responsibilities of councilors. The synergy in complementing topics discussed earlier also dwelled on the community development bordered on empowerment, community dynamics and inter-play between local government and the community.
The workshop ended with presentations on peace and conflict prevention.
Participants were also capacitated on how to identify simmering conflict and be able to address them given the skills of mediation and negotiation.