Dakar/Banjul, June 14, 2019 – A delegation of 13 influential parliamentarians from 11 countries around the world visited Senegal and The Gambia June 11-14, 2019. They were joined by leading Civil Society Organization (CSO) representatives as part of a four-day field visit hosted by the World Bank.
“As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, we talk about development on paper but seeing the reality on the ground changes my perspective completely. When I came here I realized ‘either we do this, or we do nothing’” Aina Kuric MP and Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, France.
Members of Parliament from Brazil, Burkina Faso, France, Ireland, Mongolia, Romania, Somalia, Spain, Tunisia, and Zambia came to witness the impact of World Bank Group International Development Association (IDA) projects on the ground and learn about Senegal and The Gambia’s development progress. In addition to a firsthand look at how development projects are implemented, the field visit provided parliamentarians alongside CSO representatives with a deeper understanding of the development context in Senegal and The Gambia through briefings and engagement with local communities, stakeholders, and government officials.
Parliamentarians and CSOs alike are essential stakeholders in ensuring lasting and meaningful development outcomes. As legislators, parliamentarians shape development policies, approve budgets and loans, and make sure their constituencies’ voices are heard in the development dialogue. CSOs help inform policies and programs, advocate for results, and implement projects. Participating in a field visit allows parliamentarians and CSOs to exchange with their global peers and experts on effective policies and practices, and to strengthen their partnership with the World Bank for improved development results globally. “Going back home it is important for me and other MPs to show and share the impact of these projects so people associate the World Bank with local support and solutions.” Cornellius Mweetwa MP and Member of the Public Accounts Committee, Zambia
In Senegal the delegation of MPs was accompanied by high-level CSO representatives from AfriCulturelle, ALPHADEV, Coordination des ONG et Syndicats Pour la défense d’une Education publique de Qualité (COSYDEP), National Council of Youth, the Senegalese Bloggers Network, the Coalition of CSOs on the Global Financing Facility (GFF), Or Noir Africa, Save the Children West and Central Africa and World Vision. They were welcomed by Louise Cord, World Bank Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania. They had the opportunity to delve into the national economic and political situation during overviews of the country by leading experts and fruitful sessions with Members of the National Assembly of Senegal led by the Chair of the Finance Committee Dieh Mandiaye Ba, as well as local CSO representatives. They then visited Quranic schools that were modernized and scientific and technological schools that were constructed under the World Bank Project to Improve the Quality and Equity of Basic Education (PAQEEB). These projects help students integrate into the public school system and prepare for the jobs of the future. “It was a very productive experience interacting with MPs from various countries and learning more about the economy of Senegal. I was happy to see how the schools are impacting the lives of children by giving them hopes and dreams.” Mansour Fall, Program Support Director for the West Africa Regional Office of World Vision International.
In The Gambia parliamentarians were joined by CSO leaders of The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations in The Gambia (TANGO), Education For All Network, the National Nutrition Agency, and Child Fund for a visit to the Kuntair Major Health Facility, which was upgraded under the World Bank-financed Maternal and Child Nutrition and Health Results project. The center manages pre- and post-natal care for women, family planning, general medicine, testing, immunizations, and community health outreach. “I am very impressed with the project implementation, especially the immunization coverage,” Musu Kuta Komma, Country Director for Child Fund in The Gambia stated, suggesting more trained staff to support service delivery. Frateli Fouti MP, Gabon wanted to see it duplicated, “I would like to see this project in my country in general, and in my village in particular.” Following the site visit, the delegation met additional local CSOs and representatives of the National Assembly of The Gambia, including Ousman Sillah MP and Chair of the Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Humanitarian Relief and Refugees.
“Before I was invited I didn’t know a lot about the World Bank beyond using it in parliamentary debates as a source of unbiased information. I’ve learned from this mission that you can’t beat direct experience. For example, when NGOs would talk to the Foreign Affairs committee about climate change I thought it was irrelevant and they should focus on aid, but now I see it.” Niall Collins MP and Opposition Spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee, Ireland.
The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa, meet their development goals by providing grants and loans (called “credits”) for programs to boost economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve living conditions. Overseen by 173 shareholder nations, IDA collaborates with various stakeholders including borrower countries, CSOs and the private sector. It is funded largely by contributions from the governments of its richer member countries. Partners meet every three years to replenish IDA funds and review its policies. The next replenishment was launched November 15, 2018 in Livingstone, Zambia and will be finalized in December 2019.
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