By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Women’s Association for Victims’ Empowerment (WAVE) and partners Peace Hub and Amnesty International KM Group commemorated International Peace Day earlier today 21st September 2023. This year’s International Peace Day is themed “Action for Peace: Our Ambitions for the Global Goals”.
WAVE is a Civil Society Organisation which works on the Transitional Justice process with an emphasis on women victims. The organisation recently concluded a two-day community paralegal training at the start of September 2023.
The group of advocates met up at Cape Point Beach where they started with a discussion with a group of women and youths. Supported by the National Endowment Fund, approximately 25 people gathered at the beach to discuss human rights issues, and peace in the country, plant coconut seedlings and rounded up the day with a beach cleaning exercise. The women in attendance were from WAVE KMC Women Support Group.
WAVE Representative, Mariama Coneh noted that the event was planned to be different from the usual meetings at the office or at other more formal settings such as the hotels where they hold activities. She highlighted the work which Peace Hub The Gambia are engaged in which involves going into the communities to promote peace in the country. She explained the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals and some of the goals which focus on climate change. Ms Conneh made reference to the recent flooding in Libya and how it has affected numerous people.
In addition to the tree planting Ms Conneh deliberated on the importance of cleaning the beach because some plastics littering the beach often get carried away with high tide which ends up endangering the marine life. After Ms Conneh’s introduction, Mr Bakary Sonko from Peace Hub The Gambia and Mr Muhammed Hydara from Amnesty International KM Group addressed the group of women and youths who also made some contributions.
Peace advocate Mr Sonko believes that “violent conflicts are not supposed to start in the first place. If unfortunately, they do, domestically or otherwise, it’s our individual & collective duty to ensure they’re resolved immediately. Leaving no one behind, we can always do better.” Mr Bakary is an SDG Champion who was recognised by UN Gambia for his work in advancing the SDGs in the country.
Mariam Ceesay from WAVE told the group that “peace is a call to action that acknowledges our individual and community responsibilities to promote peace. Engaging in meaningful and inclusive dialogue allows for a better-coordinated effort towards achieving global goals and creating a peaceful environment that upholds fundamental rights and enables individuals to thrive. Promoting peace can create a more just, and peaceful society”.
Amnesty International KM Representative Mr Hydara and Green Up Gambia Advocate Mr Ousainu Gambia took the gathering through the tree planting process by showing the group how to plant the first coconut seedling. The group of advocates present then planted the other two trees under their direction. Before they started planting Mr Hydara told the group about the importance of peace given the rise in crime across the world.
According to Mr Hydara, “We have seen so many crime happening globally from Africa, European countries, everywhere. What we want is to commemorate today by planting these three coconuts. These are some of the most expensive seedlings. We want to make sure we put it in the right way whereby our women can take the lead”.
Ousainu Gambia a well-known environmental advocate who spearhead Green Up Gambia underlined the importance of the tree planting exercise which he says can even help to control the weather. “We always try to plant coconuts for the sake of the country and the people of the Gambia”. He introduced some “beach boys” at the beach who sell fresh juices to visitors who have agreed to take care of the coconut seedlings. Ousainou explained that they plan to use car tyres to protect the Coconut trees from being run over by animals and visitors at the beach.
After the group planted the trees at the beach, they went on to clean up a section of the beach equipped with their gloves, rakes and wheelbarrows. The team concluded the day with lunch at the beach before dispersing.