Talent for Governance offers inspiration

Better street lighting, smart public parking, and better maintenance of public toilets in markets and recreational centres. These are just a few of the many ambitions that Haddiatou Sarjo Jallow has for her municipality Brikama in the Gambia. Haddiatou was selected for our Talent for Governance programme on urban governance. After a training in The Hague, the city of Oss welcomed her for a short internship.

Haddiatou is a planning technician in her municipality in the West Coast Region in the Gambia. She oversees many different aspects of urban planning and development. During the training and internship, she gathered ideas to improve street lighting in her municipality and to better maintain public toilets in markets and recreational centres. Haddiatou was also inspired by the Dutch example of making public parking spaces smarter and smaller and using this to increase revenues for the municipality.

Rapid urbanisation in Brikama

Brikama Local Government Area is the most rapidly urbanising area in the Gambia. It houses 37% of the population of the country and the poverty rate in the area is 51%. Rapid urbanisation in combination with huge poverty, poses the local government with many challenges. One of the concerns raised during the development of the council’s strategic plan for 2020 – 2024 was dysfunctional streetlights, especially in major urban settlements. Another issue is the badly maintained toilets in public markets, especially with the urban population increasing rapidly. During her Talent-programme, Haddiatou had the chance to learn from experiences in The Netherlands.

Moments of inspiration

Haddiatou shares two moments that inspired her. “What was really interesting were the visit and conversations about the ‘enough lighting’ concept with Martijn Duijts, public space manager in the municipality of Oss. This concept uses less energy but provides the municipality with enough lighting at night. This encourages energy saving and less carbon emissions.”

“The training session on urban environmental resilience was also very insightful. It was an eye-opener to learn how biodiversity and natural ecosystems can support communities to adapt to life in an unpredictable climate system. I also learned about building with nature, restoring ecosystems and comprehensive spatial planning systems.”

Talent for Governance

Talent for Governance is the scholarship programme of The Hague Academy for Local Governance. It offers hands-on learning experiences to young, talented, ambitious local government employees who want to make a difference in their community. Dutch municipalities make an important contribution by sponsoring the programme and offering a three-day internship to selected talents. Talent for Governance means inspiring meetings and exchanges between municipal colleagues from different parts of the world: a unique and educational experience both for the talents and the Dutch municipal employees involved.

Haddiatou expresses her appreciation for the team in Oss: “The experience I gained during my internship has been invaluable, and I am grateful for the support and guidance provided by my internship facilitator, Marie-Louise Roefs. I was impressed by her professionalism, dedication, and open-minded nature throughout the three days of my internship. I have learnt so much from the conversations with such a talented group of people! Martijn’s enthusiasm and passion for his work amazed me. And finally, Mayor Wobine’s humility and willingness to share good governance tips in local government will go a long way to shape my career.”


Would you like to see the full gallery? Visit the website of photographer René Nelissen.


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