New legislation makes history in Gambia

An UNDEF project in Gambia facilitated the National Assembly’s passing of an Access to Information Bill in July 2021. With this, Gambia becomes the last English-speaking country in West Africa to recognize access to information as a legal right. It marks the first time in Gambia’s history that civil society has worked directly with the Government on legislation from conception to enactment, all made possible by UNDEF’s support. Implemented by the Gambia Press Union, the project built a coalition of civil society and media organizations -- the Civil Society Coalition on Freedom of Information -- which engaged with Government and drafted the proposed legislation for the freedom of information bill; created a platform for dialogue with the Ministries of Justice and Information to allow for direct consultations and reach a consensus on the legislation; provided training for journalists on the topic; and conducted advocacy among the general public to build wide support for access to information as a tool to enhance accountability and good governance.