Gambia: Centre for Research and Policy Development Trains Security On Human Security

16 March 2023

The Centre for Research and Policy Development (CRPD) with support and partnership from African Transitional Justice Fund (ATJF) on Wednesday convened a three-day Training of Trainers (TOT) forum on human security for personnel of the country's security apparatus.

The training currently underway at Bakadaji Hotel, is earmarked to increase participant's knowledge and understanding and the integration of human security concept and principles to be able to organise and deliver similar trainings.

Also, the training was designed in such a way that it would be based on a manual that was developed by CRPD based on international best practices. It is envisaged that after the training, the materials are used by various actors to increase personnel knowledge on human security in theory and practice and particularly within the Gambian context.

Welcoming the participants, Sait Matty Jaw, executive director at the Centre for Research and Policy Development (CRPD), acknowledged the role played by the Office of the National Security Council in the entire process, adding that from the onset they have shown commitment to the process.

Jaw spoke about the progress made by the centre over the years, saying the training for security is a continuum and one of the last activities of the centre under the African Transitional Justice Fund (ATJF) project.

He thus thanked ATJF for the support, recalling that over the past year, they have been working on various areas which also include an assessment which will be shared with stakeholders very soon.

The centre, he added, is an evidence-based organisation in that everything they undertook they want to show evidence.

He equally talked about another project which was designed to bolster civil-military relations, further acknowledging that the centre also worked on civil society organisations engagements, among a host of others.

"We also worked on developing a CSO engagement strategy. In the past Gambian CSOs don't know how to engage with security institutions more so others partners."

To that end, he said they have been working on strategies to better prepare CSOs to engage partners, among others.

Priscilla Yagu Cisay, senior technical adviser, Women's Association for Victims' Empowerment (WAVE), calls for a paradigm shift as stakeholders towards human security, elaborating further how human security strengthens gender work.

She observed that actions need to be taken in respecting the fundamental freedom and rights of women.

WAVE technical adviser also spoke about the challenges in bolstering civil-military relations, further citing the role of women in human security.

For his part, Malang Jatta, director of Planning at the National Security, on behalf of the National Security Adviser, thanked CRPD for the foresight and convening such an important forum.

The Gambia, he added, is at a crossroad moving forward as far as security sector reform is concerned, reminding that in order to ensure the smooth transition of this security sector reforms there is need for all to work towards a common direction.

Jatta acknowledged CRPD as genuine partners in building capacities of institutions, reminding that security sector reform is not a one stop shop, but a process that requires multifaceted approach.

He thus urged all to take ownership of the reform process to be able to make meaningful headways. "The moment we are able to reform the security sector, we will see the benefit as a council."

He also spoke about their plans to embark on a nationwide tour to better popularise these agenda among the populace.

Sheriff Gomez, consultant and a veteran military officer, thanked CRPD for entrusting him with the development of the manual.

He acknowledged that the country is going through a challenging period after 22 years of dictatorship citing violations committed in the former regime.

In view of that, he outlined the need for rebuilding and restructuring of foundational documents to guide the reform process.

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