Gambia Statement - children safe and case has been suspended
We are one year on from when we first became aware of the deeply disturbing allegations centred around our local partners in The Gambia. Today we share with you all we can, while protecting the children that have been impacted and also ensuring we remain in full cooperation with The Gambian Authorities.
Given the very serious nature of these allegations, it was essential for us from the outset to comply with and not undermine the Gambian government's processes. We thus worked alongside their investigation with expert independent partners, to understand what failings may or may not have taken place, ensuring, all the while, we took a firm survivor-centered approach. This has meant that progress has been necessarily slower than we would have liked, especially given the understandable delays brought about by Covid-19.
The Gambian authorities are working in the best interest of the children affected and we are co-operating on every level, plus providing additional support. As of today, the case has been suspended. We will continue to support the authorities.
Our priority today, as it has been over the past 12 months, is the wellbeing and safety of every child that we are directly or indirectly supporting. We can thus confirm that every child that has potentially been involved in the recent upheaval is safe and cared for. This has been in full coordination with government authorities and child protection services through both a local legal team and most recently our own UK team deployed on the ground. In addition, supported by the world-leading child protection agency, The International Social Service, we have begun implementation of a plan to ensure long-term, holistic support for the children impacted.
It is, no doubt, incumbent upon us to ensure we emerge from this period in a stronger position than ever before. In that spirit, we have moved forward with a widespread programme of organisational enhancement, a detailed report of which will be forthcoming in future updates.
As we look to the future, coming out of a global pandemic, we recognise vulnerable children around the world are more in need than ever. We continue to be ever-committed to the children of The Gambia and likewise across West Africa. Our work is far from over, and together we will continue our vision to transform small change into a big difference for those who need it most, helping to give every child the future they deserve.
THURSDAY 19 AUG 2021