CU committed to poverty eradication
Thursday, September 27, 2007
A two-day Sphere Project Training workshop on Tuesday commenced at Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo.
The aim of the project, is to improve the quality of assistance provided to people affected by disasters, and to enhance the accountability and coordination of humanitarian systems in disaster response.
The project was launched internationally in 1997, to develop a set of universal minimum standard in core areas of humanitarian assistance in health, nutrition, shelter, among others.
Concern Universal has over the years been engaged in supporting rural communities to improve their incomes and livehoods, as well as in emergency preparedness, prevention and response interventions to consolidate the gains achieved.
Niall O' Connor, Country Director of Concern Universal, said their mission is to work with partners and to challenge poverty and inequality. "We do this by supporting practical actions that enable people to improve their lives and shape their own future," he noted, adding that Concern Universal's core values centred on human dignity.
"Sustainable development is the ultimate goal of all development organisation and Concern Universal has pursued this strategic goal. Since its inception in The Gambia," said Mr O' Connor. He maintained that "we must set and follow specific Codes of Conduct, while providing humanitarian assistance.
According to Mr O' Cannor, the project seeks to instil in all humanitarian actors, reaffirm commitment to humanitarian charter, and set minimum standards to guarantee the Code of Conduct.
"If we do this, he said, "we will in turn restore hope in the victims of disaster that they live in a world that cares".
Dilating on their functions, Paul O' Hagan, International Director for Concern Universal, West Africa, said his organisation identifies three major international problems, which are their main focal points, including, civil conflicts as seen in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast in the past decades.
At the beginning of this year, there is a stage of high contention in the Republic of Guinea Conakry, in which seventy people were killed during the national strikes and damages.
The second major focus is the natural disaster, flooding and security recurrent in Niger and in the Northern part of the countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Bukina Faso, Mali and also in Senegal. "The other type of disaster has been public infrastructure-building, among others," he said.
In declaring the workshop open, Fatou Jassey-Kuyateh, Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Vice- President, who deputised for the Vice- President, Ajaratou Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, gave a brief explanation of the genesis of National Disaster Management Committee.
According to her, it was established after 1994, in order to coordinate and manage disaster preparedness and relief efforts in the country.
Madam Jassey Kuyateh, further stated that, this realisation has prompted government to design a policy that would outline the development of standard of instrument for disaster prevention and preparedness, as well as organisational mechanisms for planning implementation.
"It is an established fact that one of the major obstacles to effective disaster management policies in the past has been a dominant approach that justifies disaster response," she added.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Juan Codnerque, ICTC International representative and Essa Khan, National Disaster Officer, who delivered the vote of thanks.
The ceremony was chaired by Ebrima Sonko of Concern Universal.
Author: Musa Ndow