Their Voice Must Be Heard Breaks New Ground

By Mustapha Manneh

Their Voice Must Be Heard (TVMBH) on Tuesday, November 6th, partnered with Tanzanian Human Rights Lawyer and International Development Specialist, Emilia Siwingwa, to break a new ground by conductibg a workshop on “Effective Community Responses to Large-Scale Development Projects”. The workshop, conducted at the Tarud Hall in Gunjur, drew 33 participants from Gunjur, Kartong, Sambouya, Berending, Sifoe, Kachumeh, Sanyang, Santangba, Medina Salaam, and Tujereng.

The workshop was meant to sensitize selected community members about industrialization and infrastructure development, the priority agenda for Africa today. While the need for resilient, accessible and reliable infrastructure and services and their knock-on effects on economic and social transformation cannot be gainsaid, large-scale development projects often require vast parcels of land and the physical alteration thereof, often result in the wide-scale displacement of unsuspecting communities, loss of livelihoods and harm to the environment.

In this regard, international law and international standards and best practices in international development safeguard community rights, the social and economic well-being, and the environment; and provide a framework for a collaborative approach to development. The aim of this workshop was to impart basic understanding of the international development agenda, the relevance of the same to African communities, and practical and effective responses to the seeming David and Goliath development contest.

On her part, Emilia noted that the workshop was an unforgettable experience. “I loved meeting the participants, breaking bread together, learning about how they define accountability and development, and about what they view to be the biggest challenges affecting their livelihoods and how they are countering those challenges. I look forward to continued collaboration”, she said.

This workshop is the first of a series of workshops aimed at building capacity of TVMBH and its beneficiaries around human rights and social inclusion advocacy.

Their Voice Must Be Heard
Their Voice Must Be Heard” is a Gambian non-profit human rights organization, the sole aim of which is to safeguard and protect human rights especially for the those of women and girls who are always the most vulnerable.

Emilia Siwingwa
Emilia is an international lawyer, registered arbitrator and international development specialist. Emilia consults and provides legal, development and management advisory services to public, private and non-governmental organizations with respect to development projects, trade & investment, human rights and governance. Emilia is a member of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative Africa Council and the Chairperson of Greenpeace Africa.

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