Our country programme is managed efficiently through well-coordinated, cross-sectoral interventions that ensure no child is left behind
Capacity for programme effectiveness and data for planning and evidence-based advocacy programing are major challenges in The Gambia. Several programmes have been launched but their effectiveness has largely been dented by lack of clear and evidence-based planning to suit the needs of the people. Other impediments to achieving results for children are limited outreach at community levels, limited stakeholder awareness and coordination among child institutions, traditional and cultural beliefs and practices, and low community engagement and participation.
To address gaps in programme effectiveness, we work with the government of The Gambia to establish and strengthen community structures and local government institutions. We also support the government in building the capacity of regional, district, ward and community structures to equip them with knowledge and skills to effectively executive their functions.
UNICEF also supports development and monitoring of ward and village Community Action Plans (CAP) and facilitate robust engagements between the regional technical advisory committees and the governor’s office and area councils. We foster collaboration between local structures and promote the inclusion of child rights their programmes and monitoring of UNICEF-supported projects in their regions.
To better achieve results, we support the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government and the offices of the regional governors with logistics such as vehicles, motorcycles and computers to facilitate effective implementation and monitoring of activities.
UNICEF will be piloting and documenting the Ñsa Kenno in two regions (Lower River Region and Upper River Region) for a period of three years (2018 – 2020).
In addition, we have also built an integrated monitoring, evaluation and research plan, conducted studies such as the Micro-Nutrients Survey (MNS) and a teacher absenteeism study. Both studies generated useful information on the nutritional status of children in The Gambia and reasons behind teacher absenteeism respectively. The findings will inform policy and programme planning, and advocacy.
Following the conduct of a situation analysis of children and women in The Gambia in 2015, UNICEF launched a more robust and community-centered model of programming dubbed Ñsa Kenno (we can do it). Ñsa Kenno seeks to promote positive behavior and strengthen demand for essential care and healthy practices.
The Ñsa Kenno model connects national to regional, district, ward and village structures, creating an intersection of open spaces for community-level action and participation with government mechanisms to promote citizens’ empowerment.
Ñsa Kenno is not new programming but a paradigm shift from traditional top-bottom methodology of community engagement to systematic programming that connects and integrates the work that UNICEF and its partners do in The Gambia.