By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Never Again Network, a new grassroots organisation, comprising former TRRC staff was officially launched on Saturday, 12th November 2022, at the Action Aid conference room, in Kanifing.
Speaking at the launching, Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, the National Coordinator of the network, expounds on the rationale for setting up such an organisation, saying; “as The Gambia enters the post-TRRC period and the implementation phase of the commission’s work begins, both public institutions and many civil society organisations are engaged in helping people understand the contents of the commission’s final report and the government’s white paper, and finding ways and means of encouraging the implementation of the recommendations.”
Mr. Jallow made mention of various entities -governmental and non-governmental, that are actively working to educate the public on the findings of the commission and how to get its recommendations implemented.
“The Ministry of Justice, the National Human Rights Commission, and victim and women-led organisations like Aneked, WAVE, WILL, the Victims Centre and several international organisations like the UNDP, the OHCHR, the ICTJ, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and Trial International among others, are actively engaging various sectors of the Gambian population with a view to helping them understand the outcomes of the TRRC’s work, and finding ways and means of encouraging the implementation of its recommendations,” he said.
Jallow added that part of these engagements are in response to the government’s invitation to Gambian civil society and other partners to collaborate on ensuring that the commission’s recommendations are implemented.
He said it is within this context and in this spirit that the Never Again Network was formed.
“The Network’s motto, “Empowering the Future”, speaks to its focus on empowering young people – both inside and outside the school system – and getting them involved in ensuring that never again shall The Gambia undergo dictatorship or suffer the kinds of gross human rights violations that occurred under the dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh, “Said Jallow.
He disclosed that focusing on empowering young people will aid the positive transformation of Gambian society for a better and brighter future, in line with the rationale for the country’s transitional justice process.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty, said Never Again should be more than a slogan.
“But is about changing our attitude and changing the way we do things. With that, we will create a better society for our children and our grandchildren.”
Satang Dumbuya, the Youth Outreach Coordinator of the Network said, the network is using young people for change because they believe there is no meaningful development without the involvement of the young people.
“That is why the “Never Again Network” is using the dynamic way of advocacy by using young people because we know our future is with the young people of this country and if we want to change we should capitalize on our young people by teaching them the values of human rights and how to tolerate and respect other people,” she said.
The objectives of the network are to create a nationwide network of young people’s organisations, including school clubs, sports teams, entertainment groups, and community groups that will strive to understand The Gambia’s recent history of dictatorship and human rights violations and that will serve as a bulwark against the emergence of another dictatorship and a regime of human rights violations in the country.
To empower young people across the country, through dialogue on civic education and citizen rights and responsibilities.
To build partnerships and collaborate with both national and international organisations interested in The Gambia’s transitional justice process, and in particular the participation of young people, both male and female, in that process.