President Adama Barrow on Friday 15th October, 2021 presided over the launch of Programme for Accelerated Community Development (PACD) at a ceremony held at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre in Bijilo.

The project seeks to address development disparity between urban and rural communities by providing safe drinking water, access to roads, energy and labor-saving equipment for post-harvest handling and exotic livestock breeds for milk production to rural communities.

The project that targets 31 rural communities across six local government administrative areas namely- West Coast Region, Lower River Region, North Bank Region, Central River South and North, and Upper River Region – has so far drilled 16 boreholes and intended to impact 35000 households.

Speaking at the event, Chief launcher and President of the Republic, HE. Adama Barrow said PACD is a flagship project of his government conceived to respond to the needs and aspirations of Gambian people. He added that the project will provide the most basic life essentials such as water and electricity to rural communities.

“The PACD is entirely funded by my government. We have allocated $ 5 million in 2020 National Budget to finance the first phase of the project. The UNDP also supported us with $1 million for the implementation of the project,” President Barrow stated with enthusiasm.

He commended the UNDP and the entire UN system in the Gambia for the support and strong collaboration in the implementation of the PACD phase one. He also called for a stronger partnership from all UN agencies in the Gambia to support his government in the implementation of the second phase of this life-changing project.

Amie Fabureh, Minister of Agriculture who also spoke on behalf of Minister of Finance thanked President Barrow for always putting issues of children and women at the epicenter of his development endeavors.

“The PACD will improve agriculture, create employment opportunities and reduce drudgery in rural communities,” she said.

She lamented over low technological techniques to expedite Gambia’s overall development aspirations in spite of the numerous gains registered by the project under Adama Barrow-led government.

UNDP Resident Representative – Madam Aisata De emphasised the significance of PACD, saying that it is a development-oriented initiative.

She lauded government for coming up with such a project aimed at addressing the existing disparity between rural and urban communities by reducing poverty and better the lives and livelihoods of rural communities.

She added: “I want to assure you of the UNDP’s commitment to deepening our partnership and support to the government of the Gambia.”

Prof. Dr. Jainaba Kah, Director-General Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery at the Office of the President, expressed delight at the launch of the PACD, a project she said should have been launched two months ago. She also outlined the genesis of PACD saying it started as a pilot project where different stakeholders were engaged to obtain expert advice for the full implementation of the project.

“We deeply appreciate the hard work and efforts of our implementing partner: UNDP,” Kah stated.

On behalf of the project beneficiary communities, Luba D.L. Mendy expressed gratitude and appreciation to the government of the Gambia for uplifting their living conditions by providing them portable water, electricity, and labour-saving equipment. He also noted that the services and facilities provided will help bridge the rural-urban gap.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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