What We Do

Our work spans various areas as per the principles that guide us as an organization. Thus, we employ different methodologies in accomplishing the goal and objectives we set forth. Some of the areas that we work in include Transparency and Accountability, Legislative Engagement, Anti-Corruption, Advocacy, Access to Information, Civic Education and Engagement, and Research.

Since our establishment in 2016, engaging people to motivate them to partake in the then presidential election, we have worked on numerous projects geared towards informing and educating people, engaging with the state institutions, entities and officials, and bridging the gap between elected officials and the citizenry. Notable amongst these are the Know Your Budget and Follow The Money Initiatives.

We are currently working on advocacy initiatives pushing for the adoption of anti-corruption laws of international standard, developing mobile tools for easy access to election information, building data platforms to better understand data behind matters of citizen interest and a lot more.

As a CSO whose focus is to promote transparency and accountability in public sector, we’ve partnered with public institutions in The Gambia like Ministry of Finance and Economics Affairs to produce a Citizen version of the budget, which is simplified to the ordinary citizens understanding and thereby sparking citizens’ interest in the national budget. We also collaborate with National Audit Office of The Gambia to develop a summarized version of the audit report (Citizens Audit report) to promote sound finance management, fiscal transparency and increase citizens interest in the findings of the Auditor General’s office (National Audit Office) for their recommendations to be implemented by the government.
We engage Parliamentarians on issues of national interest to enable them enact laws that will serve the greater interest of the public through stakeholder dialogue to come up with recommendations which will substitute the current and future problems of the country. In 2020, we organized an Anti-Corruption Bill Retreat with the Gambia National Assembly Members to legislate the Bill once it reaches their table, to establish the Gambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission to curb corruption in public sector. We equally submitted our recommendations as to what we want the Anti-Corruption Commission to operate independently to enable it investigate and punish any public officer found guilty of corrupt practices.
As the leading Anti-Corruption CSO in The Gambia, we always engage into activities that will fight against corruption in public sector by speaking against it and take further action to ensure that corrupt practices that will severe affect the wellbeing of the public or put the country into mess is brought to the law for justice to be served. In 2019, in partnership with Transparency International, we conducted a participatory video called (Hyena), which gives victims of grand corruption under the former dictatorship rule of Yaya Jammeh, a platform to narrate their ordeal to attain justice in all its forms. In our quest to making sure that the voices of these victims are heard everywhere, this participatory video (HYENA) was submitted to the Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission, to serve as exhibit to the evident that there has been grand corruption in the past regime. In early 2021, we conducted a similar participatory video in the communities of Makumbaya, Babylon, Lamin and Kafuta, to amplify the voices of land corruption in these communities. These are helpless and hopeless people whose lands were forcefully taken from them, and after several attempts to restoring their land back through legal procedures, they were given no hope by the government, but to fold their hands and be law abiding citizen to wait for the law to take its cause.

Every advocacy begins with raising your voice. And one way to raise the volume of your voice is through the media, which is dominated by digital media. Understanding this reality, Gambia Participates utilizes the power of the modern media to disseminate and enlighten the masses about issues of national prudence to spark discussion around it for the benefit of the country and her people. We foresight issues and solve them before they happen. To stand against corruption and things which were normal in the past even though they’re illegal, we sued the Gambia’s National Assembly to the Supreme Court of The Gambia in 2020, for allocating a D54 million loan scheme to themselves to build their houses in the midst of a public health pandemic. An amount which could have impacted the lives of about 140,000 rural inhabitants, many of whom have no clean drinkable water and health centers in their communities.

In early 2021, the Supreme Court of The Gambia had ruled against the wish of the National Assembly for such a move, thus, we saved the country that huge amount of money. As The Gambia is heading into election later 2021, the Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) gave the Mayor of Banjul to issue attestation to constituents of the City who do not have an ID card, Passport or Birth certificate to also register to vote in the 2021 Presidential election. We are of the view that the Elections Act only gives such mandate to the Alkalo of a village or a Chief of a District, thus, we wrote to the IEC and the Mayor of Banjul to stop such act as it is illegal. Unfortunately, both parties failed to take our advice and thereby refusing to our call to stop issuing attestation. We sued the IEC, the Mayor of Banjul and the Attorney General to the High Court of The Gambia, to look into the illegality of the issuance of attestation by the Mayor of Banjul. Again, the Court ruled in our favor that it’s illegal for the Mayor of Banjul to issue attestation to Banjulians. The Judge went further to explain that it’s obligatory for every citizen who is born in Banjul to register for birth certificate, failure to do so, is a criminal offence in the laws of The Gambia.

Access to information has become a fundamental civic right and it promotes an open governance system, which allows citizens to be well informed about everything the government is engaging into in the name of the state, we are a bonafide member of CSO Coalition on Access to Information. Together, we drafted the Access to Information Bill and took it the National Assembly for it to be passed into law to promote open and transparent government. We are glad that, the Gambia’s National Assembly has legislated Access to Information Bill, which is a great win for a growing democracy state like The Gambia.
Community engagement is an integral part of our work in ensuring that every Gambian, no matter your status or location is well-informed of their rights and duties. With our Know Your Budget initiative, we have toured the remotest communities of The Gambia to enlighten them about what is the national budget and why it’s prudent for them to take part in the budget process. These are communities that had no idea what the national budget is and how they’re contributing to the national development through the payment of their taxes. Most of these rural inhabitants have confessed that our budget dialogue was the first ever time they had about the budget and why their participation is crucial to budget formulation. We equally mounted budget billboards in the streets for communal to have access to budget information in a more simplified manner. To cater for everyone, we developed animation videos in local languages to sensitize people who do not understand English to get the chance to understand what is in their national budget.
Since we believe in evidence-based advocacy to have a firsthand information, research is an area we are very much interested in. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic hit the world hard including The Gambia. To curb the further spread of the virus, The Gambia government received aid from International Monetary Fund, World Bank and individuals to help the government in its cause. However, we realized that the Coronavirus pandemic was about to turn into a festival of corruption in the health sector of The Gambia. We launched “Corona, The Gambia and The Millions” which is an investigative research into the expenditures of these fund and they have been managed. We came to realized that most of these funds have not been judiciously managed thus a list of ghost names were printed out and the Health Minister had to request for a new list to be prepared, even though those risking their lives as frontline workers did not receive anything from the allowance allocated to them. In 2021, we conducted the first ever Community Score Card in The Gambia on National Water and Electricity Company’s water service delivery in certain parts of the Greater Banjul Area. Our research found that most of these communities have low pressure of water supply, higher water bill and others have even abandoned NAWEC’s water service to drilling boreholes in their various homes.