By: Haruna Kuyateh
ActionAid International – The Gambia Juffureh Office of Local Rights Program 9, on Thursday organised a day-long Bakalarr Cluster Community Dialogue, with the slogan – ‘it is our right to have access to good roads,’ ‘spend our taxes wisely for the construction of 16 kilometers road from Hakalang highway via Bakalarr,’ ‘connecting several communities within Bakalarr clusters of Upper Nuimi.”
The convergence formed part of the communities’ initiative of providing a platform to discuss with the NAM Select Committee on government projects, the National Road Authority, and Regional, and Local Authorities. The initiative aimed at promoting a human rights-based approach to the development of empowering communities to present their development demand before key relevant stakeholders.
Saikou Darboe Manager at ActionAid International Office at Juffureh said the convergence formed the agency’s commitment to empowering communities through advocacy to enable them to demand their developmental right.
He noted that due to poor condition of the road from Hakalang Highway to Bakalarr remains the biggest concern for the inhabitants of Cluster communities. The construction of the road will contribute to poverty reduction and improve livelihood development.
Governor Lamin Saidykhan thanked ActionAid and communities for their foresight in bringing duty bearers and right holders to discuss most development needs of taxpayers. He noted that government is fully aware of the plight of communities and the government has committed itself to construct roads to ease the transportation of goods and services.
Governor Saidykhan called on people to be law-abiding and maintain peace and stability.
Honourable Yaya Sanyang, the National Assembly Member for Latrikunda who doubled as chairman of the select committee on government projects disclosed that the government has mobilized funds to construct 16 kilometers of road connecting communities within the area, rather than the designated area claimed by the community of Bakalarr.
He noted that the ongoing Hakalang Road is purely funded by the government of the Gambia, using the taxpayers’ monies.
The Honourable therefore called on the people to put aside politics to embrace national development and solidarity.
Chief Momodou Chatty Cham and Honourable Omar Darboe of Upper Nuimi thanked ActionAid for their invaluable contribution to the empowerment of communities through capacity enhancement and delivery of projects to transform the lives and livelihood of the people. The duo noted that President Adama Barrow and government intervention in Upper Nuimi continue to change the lives of inhabitants and said an agreement has been reached by the government to construct 16 kilometers stretch.
The provision of an ambulance to the community of NemaKunku Health facility aimed to facilitate the referral of patients to Essau District Hospital.
Speaking on behalf of communities, Sarjo Drammeh and Isatou Demba of Medina Sedia said the poor condition of the road affects education, health, businesses, security, and social services during the rainy season. He noted that the construction of the road would contribute immensely to transforming economic opportunities for the inhabitants.