By Kebba Jeffang
The European Union Access to Justice Project is ready to be continued to be implemented in the Central River Region-South and North Bank Region following a successful legal and civic enlightenment impact was left in WCR, LRR and URR last year as a pilot project.
The EU officials, National Council for Civic Education and other stakeholders on 8 March, 2017gathered at a local hotel at Cape Point, Bakau to orient the implementers on the project strategies.The Access to Justice Civic Awareness Campaign is part of the EU Technical Assistance to the government of the Gambia.
Speaking, lawyer Janet R. Sallah-Njie, key expert in modern law said, the campaign was executed by four key partners: the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA), the Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS), and the Female Lawyers Association- The Gambia (FLAG).
She said the implementers were supported by a technical committee constituted by key national stakeholders who are duty bearers in the realm of access to justice, according to her; this played a vital role in the design, content and mode of implementation of the project.
“Following the successful implementation of the three pilots in the three regions, an evaluation and review of the project was carried out with the review report making significant recommendations to ensure the sustainability of the civic awareness campaign,” she said
Madam Sallah noted that they are fortunate and honoured that through the magnanimity of the European Union, the project is benefitting from a six month extension. She said this affords them the opportunity to implement the Adjusted Model of the Civic Awareness Campaign in two more regions of the Gambia, namely CRR and NBR.
Madam Sallah-Njie added that, “the overall campaign has been extended beyond the narrow ambit of sensitizing and raising awareness on accessing the tripartite justice system”.
The content, she further said, will be expanded to include, amongst other things: democracy and the role of citizens in a democracy; responsibilities of citizens in a democracy; civic rights and duties; roles and responsibilities of institutions and structures within the community; prevention of corruption and corrupt practices as well as employment and labour rights,” she said.
She concluded by saying that, it is hoped that through this extended mandate, they would be able to address, on a holistic basis, the whole ambit of the civic rights and duties of the communities, and raise their awareness to enable them seek redress and appreciate their roles and responsibilities in a democracy.
Madam Nicoleta Dortoluzzi, Project Manager Eurecna SpA recalled that the project started in 2014 and has so far been very successful.
“The civic awareness campaign is one of the main components of the project and is proud to say this is one of the most successful”, she added, while thanking particularly the experts of the project, campaign implementers and everyone that contributed to great achievements of the civic awareness campaign.
She called on all to work together, cooperate and come up with the best solutions for the rest of the civic awareness campaign.
According to her, the European Union-funded Access to Justice and Legal Education Project aims to contribute to better democratic and economic governance, in the Gambia, through improving access to justice and legal education.
“Its objectives are to improve access to legal service, remedial justice, especially for vulnerable groups; legal education, training and research skills as well as information, and management of cases,”.
She added, “a major focus of the project is the civic awareness campaign which is geared towards ensuring that local communities are aware of their basic legal rights and obligation, and how and where to seek redress.”
She noted that the overall goal of the campaign is to enhance access to justice through civic and legal education and provision of information on available justice mechanisms.