Tuesday, March 1, 2011

EU Awards Over 800,000 Euros To NSA

According to a media dispatch release issued yesterday, The Non-state Actors (NSA) Strengthening Programme is funded to the tune of 2,469,900 pounds by the European Union (from the European Development Fun – EDF) and is being implemented in close collaboration with the Government of the Gambia. The overall objective of the Programme is to enhance the role of Non State Actors (i.e. civil society) in contributing to good governance, poverty reduction and the enhancement of sustainable livelihoods in the Gambia. The Programme aims to strengthen the capacity of NSAs to play an active role in development processes and in public life in the Gambia. The European Union has a long-standing cooperative relationship with Gambian civil society, as well as with local and decentralized authorities in the field of development.

Within the scope of the NSA Strengthening Programme a call for Proposals was launched in July 2010, which has now resulted in the award of grants totaling 815,048.87 pounds to a total of thirteen NSA. The grant recipients will now commence to implement a range of projects throughout the country within two broad thematic area a (Governance and Democratisation, and b) sustainable Livelihoods and Poverty-reduction.

The NSA Programme’s Programme Management Unit (PMU) and the National Authorising Office System Unit have organised a one week training work shop for the grant recipients to help them to manage their projects in compliance with all necessary rules and regulations and to achieve their set project goals in the interest of their target groups at community level. The 5-day training workshop has taken place at Paradise Suites Hotel Conference Centre from February 21 – 25 facilitated by Ms Zeynep Selen Yilmaz, an international consultant from Turkey.

The training programme’s specific objective was to make sure that the participating NSAs have the financial management and implementation capacity to ensure the success of their projects. The thirteen NSAs involved should now have a clear understanding of what is expected in the management of EDF-funded projects and the capacity to meet those expectations. The topics covered included budgeting, procurement, monitoring and reporting, as well as setting out requirements in terms of visibility. In the course of the workshop mechanisms were also agreed for ongoing support and capacity building of the grants recipients by PMU. As a result of the training it is strongly believed that the grants provided by the European Union will be judiciously utilized and that the intended beneficiaries of these projects will feel a tangible impact in the immediate future.

At the conclusion of the workshop, certificates of attendance were presented to participants by Mr. Sylvain Lequere of the EU Delegation to the Gambia. The PMU has promised, even as participants expressed joy at the programme, that further such training workshops will be held to further expose the NSAs to EDF practices and principles and strengthen their overall management capacity. The NSA Strengthening programme will, in the year ahead, seek ways to work with the support NSA throughout the country and their representative umbrella organisations to play a constructive and dynamic role in national development in collaboration with the Government and in line with national development strategies.

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