Editor of the Crest Newspaper, Enwono-Abasi Elisha was amongst the 20 participants selected from three West African Countries, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierre-Leone to participate in a-three day regional capacity-building workshop of the Gorée Institute – Centre for Democracy, Development and Culture in Africa, Dakar-Senegal.
The event which took place from July 26 to 28 at the Gorée Island, Dakar-Senegal had the theme: “Mechanisms for the prevention and management of conflicts related to mineral resources in West Africa.”
According to the Organisers, the theme was apt to equip the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Media to be able to tackle the many issues arising from the extractives sector which mitigate against peace in communities Oil Companies operate.
In his welcome remarks to Participants from the three Anglophone Countries, the Executive Director, Dou Dou Dia said the main objective of the capacity-building training was to better equip Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the
Media with in-depth knowledge of the underlying causes of natural resource-related conflicts in the region and the existing mechanisms for preventing and managing them.
According to him, “This is the second phase of the project, ‘Towards a West African citizen synergy for transparency and equity in the management and redistribution of resources from the extractive industries. Gorée Institute commissioned two studies on Policies, Legislation and Instruments for managing revenues from the exploitation of natural resources in six West African countries. First phase, we started with three Francophone Countries, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Guinea Conakry while this second phase is Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.”
He went further to say that “Gorée Institute is a pan-African civil society organization dedicated to promoting peaceful, just and self-sufficient societies in Africa, strengthening political dialogue for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, contributing to the consolidation of democratic processes and institutions, and encouraging artistic, social and economic creativity. The Gorée Institute achieves its mission through research, capacity building, facilitation and intervention. It also works closely with African regional and sub-regional bodies, African civil society organizations and individual Africans.”
The ten (10) sessions through the three (3) day training explored the conflict situations in the extractive sectors of the Anglophone countries and their respective realities. Harmonising strategies to be engaged by the Media and the CSOs to prevent conflict was a major focus.
On the first day, the Facilitators, Prof Oumar Ndongo, Dr. Latyr Tine and Dr Victor Doke respectively discussed on; “Conflict analysis: Screening the social spheres, interaction between investment and conflict in extractive industries”, “Sources and types of conflict related to natural resources: the problem tree and the peace flower” and “The environmental, social, economic and political stakes of conflicts linked to extractive resources: role of companies in conflict prevention.”
Topics on the second day spread across dialogue and other conflict preventive measures with Demba Seydi featuring with the topic “Corruption and Transparency: Engaging communities and stakeholders, why, what, how and who?”
The third day dissected the proactive strategies, options for strengthening institutional frameworks and stakeholders to curb the menace of unrest in the extractives sector.
Earlier on the first day, the Program Coordinator, Houleymatou Balde presented the results of the Institute on a study, “Policies legislation and instruments for managing revenues from natural resources exploitation in six west African countries; Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
Representing the Crest Newspaper at the event, the Special Project Editor, Enwono-Abasi Elisha said the Crest Newspaper will continue to be a voice of the localites and serve as a veritable and objective media platform for the expression of the needs and desires of the masses on developmental issues especially of the oil bearing communities.
The event each day was characterised by engaging interactive sessions of realities bordering on issues of transparency, legislation and conflicts of the different countries. It climaxed on the last day with presentation of Certificates to participants after an interview and evaluation sessions