Francis Mendy, head of Catholic Development Office (CADO), has stated that The Gambia needs to focus on ensuring that citizens and residents of The Gambia live in freedom from fear and want in an environment of peace and stability followed by truth, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing for social cohesion
He said peace building is essential to applying Catholic Social Teaching in practice. “As Catholics, we are called to cherish and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, to foster the common good and to defend the option for the poor.”
Mendy, was speaking during a six day seminar on Social Cohesion for Peace building organised by Catholic Development Office (CADO), The Gambia in partnership with Catholic Relief Service (CRS) at the Gambia Pastoral Institute.
He explained that the purpose of the training was to further strengthen the skills of participants in order to build the capacity of partners/beneficiaries on Peace building, Social Cohesion, and to be able to identify potential causes of violence.
He pointed out that these guiding principles inspire “us to build a just and peaceful world by transforming structures and systems to make them more equitable and inclusive.”
He noted that Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Development Office initiated a peace building project in Fiscal Year 2017 to build the capacity of Christian and Islamic religious leaders, the laity, security (police and soldiers), and the National Assembly Members (NAMs) to support the TRRC’s agenda.
He said CRS focuses on promoting peace through the roll out of the Agency’s 3Bs/4Ds social cohesion (SC) methodology. “Revelations from the TRRC testimonies about mistrust, disharmony and lack of communications between and among groups have made it more critical for the country to scale up this concept,” he said, adding that “recovering from identity conflict, requires problem-solving approaches that accommodate all parties and interests, incorporating meaningful participation from a broad base of community members, and focusing on long-term effectiveness.”
He said the goal of the workshop was to increase skilled personnel on the 3Bs/4Ds social cohesion approach to restore justice and a peaceful co-existence in The Gambia.
For her part UNDP resident representative, delivered on her behalf by Beckt Adda-Dontoh, peace and development advisor, said: “It is refreshing for us at UNDP and UN to observe that civil society in this case CADO Gambia, has taken Peacebuilding and Social Cohesion seriously and is investing in strengthening capacities for peace. She said The Gambia needs the collective effort of all its citizen for sustainable peace and development.