United Nations landmark project addresses migration-related vulnerabilities in Gambia
United Nations agencies – the International Trade Centre (ITC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) – through the UN Network on Migration in The Gambia, launched a major project on 21 June to support communities living, working or traveling along the northern and southern parts of both The Gambia and Senegal (the Trans-Gambia Corridor).
The project “Addressing the drivers and causes of migration-related vulnerabilities among border communities along the Trans-Gambia transport corridor” sets out to mitigate migration challenges and create better skills development and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth and women and is funded by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (MMPTF) with $2.35 million.
Running until December 2024, the project’s activities aim to empower women, youth and children to navigate borders safely by engaging less in irregular forms of migration, knowing their rights, and claiming them by benefitting from improved safeguarding of their rights through border authorities. The project addresses the challenges of security, safety, and prosperity in target communities, in connection to the country’s broader national development agenda.
“Given that The Gambia is a country of transit and destination for an increasing number of migrants, there is a need for improved capacity to manage borders to meet their critical and growing needs,” remarked H.E. Seyaka Sonko, Minister of Interior.
For the next three years, the four agencies will work with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE), the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare (MoGCSW) and other partners to strengthen the capacity of border authorities along the Senegambia bridge (Jarra West and Upper Baddibou districts), to increase awareness among women, youth and children of their rights, and to enhance their skills and opportunities.
“Maximizing the UN’s ‘Delivering as one’ approach, the joint programme brings together unique strengths of the four different UN agencies, which is each needed to fully deliver on the overall objective of this programme,” emphasized Seraphine Wakana, the UN Resident Coordinator in The Gambia.
The initiative comes in response to several challenges along the Trans-Gambia Corridor, including smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, other forms of organized immigration crime, and harassment of women and girls along the Corridor.
“In as much as the Trans-Gambia Bridge has expedited movement, connected regions and even strengthened international cooperation, it has hugely impacted the lives and livelihood of ordinary people, cross border-traders, and women and youth along the transport corridor,” explained Hassan Gaye, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment.
“Notwithstanding the symbolic importance of the bridge both in terms of mobility and from an economic perspective, it also triggered unavoidable financial challenges on the part of the vendors,” added Fanta Faal, a woman cross-border trader whose business has been affected since the ferry halted operations.
Launched in 2019, the MMPTF is the only funding mechanism fully dedicated to supporting collective action on migration and ensuring that the mutual trust, determination, and solidarity amongst States and with other stakeholders can be fostered to ensure safe, orderly, and regular migration. The Fund will help realize the intrinsic link between the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and achieving all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Fund is currently funding 12 joint programmes across the world.