Thursday 16 July 2020
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reliefweb - 1 month ago

Connecting communities and advancing gender equality in The Gambia

Country: Gambia Source: UNOPS The Gambia is the smallest country in the mainland African continent, yet with an average of 176 people per square kilometre, it is also one of the most densely populated. Due to its fragile economy, the country is prone to shocks, particularly to the food supply. Roads are an essential means of transporting food and other essential items to vulnerable communities throughout the Gambia. Despite a network of high-capacity roads that connect the country s capital Banjul, situated on the African west coast, with its eastern-most areas bordering Senegal, many rural communities face challenges in accessing the network due to poor or barely existing feeder roads. As a result, people residing in these villages face difficulties in accessing nearby produce markets to buy and sell food, as well as other essential services and economic opportunities. Improving the Gambia s network of lower-capacity feeder roads is an important means of enhancing food security, and advancing social and economic development across the country. Since 2017, UNOPS has been working with the government of the Gambia to help improve the country s network of feeder roads. Funded by the European Union, a 10.3 million project, implemented by UNOPS, includes the rehabilitation of more than 100 kilometres of roads that link rural villages with major motorways connecting remote areas to towns and cities across the country. Through the project, some of the Gambia s most vulnerable communities, including many women, have also gained valuable employment opportunities. Roads are an essential means of transporting food and other essential items to vulnerable communities throughout the Gambia. Despite a network of high-capacity roads that connect the country s capital Banjul, situated on the African west coast, with its eastern-most areas bordering Senegal, many rural communities face challenges in accessing the network due to poor or barely existing feeder roads. As a result, people residing in these villages face difficulties in accessing nearby produce markets to buy and sell food, as well as other essential services and economic opportunities. Improving the Gambia s network of lower-capacity feeder roads is an important means of enhancing food security, and advancing social and economic development across the country. Since 2017, UNOPS has been working with the government of the Gambia to help improve the country s network of feeder roads. Funded by the European Union, a 10.3 million project, implemented by UNOPS, includes the rehabilitation of more than 100 kilometres of roads that link rural villages with major motorways connecting remote areas to towns and cities across the country. Through the project, some of the Gambia s most vulnerable communities, including many women, have also gained valuable employment opportunities. The project is also supporting the capacity of the Gambia s National Road Authority (NRA) to effectively manage and maintain the country s road network. This includes helping the NRA to develop a comprehensive road network map to assist with future planning, and establishing new axle load control measures to reduce road damage caused by heavy vehicles, increasing the sustainability of rehabilitated roads. Construction work is taking place along the Upper River Region, the North Bank Region and the Central River Region of the Gambia, and will focus on sustainability and building local capacity across the country. As part of the project, UNOPS has also piloted a grievance escalation mechanism, in collaboration with the Gambia s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of workers. This mechanism will also help facilitate the resolution of payment issues of workers as well as issues surrounding land disputes during the implementation phase of the project. It is expected that in the future this pilot will be adopted by the government and scaled-up as a social safeguard measure in the infrastructure sector. The project is following environmental management requirements of the National Environment Agency. This will prevent or minimize soil erosion, dust and noise, and damage to the water supply following the rural road rehabilitation. UNOPS is also ensuring that international health and safety standards are applied to every aspect of the project through training and ensuring the correct health and safety equipment is worn at project sites at all times.


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