The World Bank Group approved additional financing (AF) of $8 million to The Gambia COVID-19 preparedness and response project to support the country’s efforts towards fighting the pandemic. This is part of the Bank’s overall COVID-19 emergency response plan to support developing countries in tackling challenges and issues related to COVID-19. The AF aims to support vaccine acquisition, develop and implement a delivery and distribution plan, and strengthen the country’s capacity to successfully deliver COVID-19 vaccines at scale.
The preliminary stakeholder engagement plan (SEP) indicates that the first consultation for the AF vaccine project was held on January 21, 2021. Over 40 people, representing government and nongovernmental organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), and UN agencies participated in the meeting. Before revising the national vaccine deployment plan and disclosing priority groups, the project organized additional consultations with community leaders, heads of institutions including both state and non-state actors, and marginalized groups. The Ministry of Health (MoH) also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six local CSOs working in the areas of gender mainstreaming and child protection. The MoU aims to improve community consultation and sensitization initiatives as well as enhance the inclusion of marginalized groups like women and youth in the project design and implementation. We encourage the Bank and implementing agency to continue organizing additional consultations throughout project implementation and prioritize the inclusion of local CSOs and community members, especially marginalized groups likely to be excluded from project benefits, in consultations.