By: Foday Manneh
The International Republican Institute (IRI), in partnership with the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly, has started a two-day capacity-building training for the research department of the parliament on non-partisan research from May 26 — 27, 2023.
The theme of the two-day training funded by the United States Embassy in Banjul is centered on; Strengthening the capacity of the National Assembly’s Research Department to conduct Non-partisan Research.
In giving a brief overview of the activity, the Residence Program Director of IRI, Jimmy Sankaituah, said the program is part of their efforts to provide additional support to the research department of the National Assembly following a rapid assessment conducted to establish the level and needed capacity at the said department.
“Since we have analyzed our assessment report, we are not convinced that there is space to engage with the members of the research department to support them. Therefore, we have put together a package in which we are providing a two-day training for them on the latest research with its means, benefits, and implications,” Jimmy said.
Mr. Jimmy also underscored that the training will help the participants in their decision-making efforts considering data as a powerful tool in the work of parliament.
“This support is coming at a time when countries worldwide focus on using data as a source of decision-making, and we believe that the NA of The Gambia is no exception. And there is no way the members of NA can access relevant data to make decisions if the research department does not provide them with the critical analysis they need,” he added.
For his part, the Clerk of the National Assembly of the Gambia, Momodou A. Sise, said research plays an integral role in building up society and shaping opinions, adding that there is no great institution that has garnered so much credibility and accomplishment without credence to research in its work.
Mr. Sise added that his institution’s research unit is envisaged to improve the standard, quality, and credibility of the information that the National Assembly members come into contact with during their work.
“It is often said that information is power, but to me, the credibility of that information is that it is more powerful. And this credibility is what research provides,” Sise asserted.
The Clerk recognizes the efforts of IRI and thanks them for the various initiatives and interventions they have provided to his office over the years.
Beyond the training, IRI expects the members of the research department of the National Assembly to produce two research products which shall be non-partisan, while they provide them with a consultant who will provide them with mentoring and coaching throughout the process.