By Famara Fofana
The Gambia Police Force, in partnership with ChildFund The Gambia, recently wrapped up a weeklong countrywide training on child rights and child protection issues at the police headquarters in Banjul.
The capacity enhancement drive was punctuated by a series of activities involving community policing groups, focal persons for victims of rape, police child welfare officers, local leaders, Senegalese law enforcement law enforcement personnel at the Amdalai-Karang border post, among others.
Speaking on the topic, “children on the move”, ChildFund child protection and advocacy specialist, Alieu Marr, emphasised the importance of cooperation, coordination and collaboration between the different players in the domain of childcare and protection.
“Child protection calls for a multi-actor approach that requires the participation of the police, the communities and child-focused organisations”, said Marr as he also engaged the police on national and international instruments seeking to safeguard children.
Fatoumatta Bah, a participant averred that due to the vulnerability of children, their protection should be everyone’s business, adding, “as law enforcement officers, it is important we understand the protection issues relating to children so as to better handle cases of violence and also offer advice to community members.”
Chief Inspector Mariama Barry, acknowledged that the training has given her an insight into some of the realities facing children in the society, particularly girls and what it takes to collaborate with communities in applying the laws.
The child protection training coordinated by the Gender and Child Welfare Unit of Gambia Police Force touched on an array of issues pertinent to children. These included international conventions relating to children, the principles of non-discrimination, best interest of the child, survival, growth and development and participation of children in matters affecting them.