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25 Trainers Complete 10-Day Training on Early Warning, Peacebuilding and Mechanisms for Effective Dispute Resolution

Following the 22-year autocratic rule The Gambia was subjected to, the Government of The Gambia with support from development partners, including UNFPA The Gambia, has been working to restructure and provide a conducive, social and political environment characterised by the peace The Gambia is known for, while ensuring that key populations such as women and young people are actively involved in these processes.

On Friday 20 September 2019, UNFPA the Gambia Country Representative, Kunle Adeniyi, presided over the closing ceremony of a ten-day training of trainers on Early Warning, Peacebuilding and Mechanisms for Effective Dispute Resolution, organised by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) – The Gambia. The training as part of the activities funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, through UNFPA The Gambia, graduated the first cohort of 25 peace trainers from various communities and backgrounds.

The National Network Coordinator of WANEP The Gambia, Ms. Salama Njie, speaking at the closing ceremony, expressed her delight and appreciation to UNFPA for providing the support needed to implement this project. “This training provided an avenue for engagement and a platform to share ideas, relevant skills and knowledge, on cultural practices in conflict management and peacebuilding.” She urged the new trainers to go back to their communities and be champions of peace and further emphasised that the role of the new trainers in the society, is key especially as the country approaches the 2021 elections in these trying times of managing conflict and differences.

One of the trainers, Dr Eze, reiterated the words of Salama, emphasising the sense of responsibility levied on the new trainers, their roles in national development and most importantly, advancing the peace agenda in everything they do. He urged them to share the knowledge gained from the training as “peace starts with self but it is grown and fostered in our spaces, communities and nations.”

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mr Cham extended his appreciation to UNFPA The Gambia, WANEP and most especially the trainers. In his words “we have attended a lot of trainings, but this training in particular, has instilled in us great human values. We do respect you for your knowledge. We respect you for your humility and most definitely we do love your distinct human qualities.

Delivering the Keynote address, UNFPA The Gambia Country Representative, Kunle Adeniyi, stressed that “peace remains critical and the bedrock of every development”, adding that “a nation is in the hearts of the people not the geographic location”. Kunle went on to challenged the new trainers to take up responsibility and implement the knowledge acquired, as the “achievement is beyond the certificates given, but it is what happens outside of the room.”

Beyond the ten-day activity, a feedback mechanism will be in place to ensure sustainability of the project and the trainers, while a peace training manual will be produced by WANEP to guide peacebuilding and inclusion efforts in the country.

The capacitated trainees, will in turn facilitate step-down trainings at various levels, in support of the ongoing peace and stabilisation agenda in The Gambia. As such, the training will go a long way in addressing the capacity gaps and the lack of in-depth knowledge and skills to assist peacebuilding practitioners to efficiently contribute to the stabilisation agenda.