By Awa B. Bah
Action Aid International the Gambia in collaboration with stakeholders in the fight for child rights, on Wednesday 6thSeptember 2017 convened a policy dialogue forum between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and government, on policy and legal framework governing children’s rights and protection. The forum took place at the Action Aid Conference hall in Kanifing.
The forum is intended to create the opportunity for dialogue and face to face meetings on specific child protection issues identified in the projects’ plans. It is also meant to facilitate the sharing of experiences and to influence policy changes and implementation of legal frameworks on children’s rights and protection and to strengthen the collaboration and coordination between CSOs and government agencies.
In his introductory remark, Bakary Fadera, Programme Specialist for Education at Action Aid International the Gambia, said the project is child focused and is funded by the European Commission but implemented by Action Aid International the Gambia and partners. Children’s issues he said, is critical requiring high consideration in decision making processes.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Omar Badjie, Executive Director of Action Aid International the Gambia, said they want to engage stakeholders in discussions on policies centered around child protection to enable children grow up as elders in an environment, conducive to their proper development. He said child rights need to be fully recognized and protected to ensure that children grow up to become responsible people in the future.
“We are losing out as a nation from the wisdom of children for not giving them the opportunity to listen to the issues affecting them,” he said.
Action Aid International the Gambia takes issues of children seriously at all levels. Mr. Badjie called on participants to lay out action plans that will enhance the development of a policy framework to address children’s issues. He said that recognizing children’s contributions in our country’s development is important. Mr. Badjie called for the need to engage children in any policy process to ensure that they realized their rights and potentials.
Bridget Tabou Correa, Project Coordinator, remarked that AATG will continue to work with government and stakeholders in complementing efforts for children to achieve their potentials.
She said that placing significance resources on national child protection strategic plans of action, will ensure the protection of all children by 2010. She urged all to galvanize efforts and provide adequate funding for children to move the national agenda forward.