Peter Singhatey

Started my career with the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) where I served seventeen years in various capacities. I am a graduate from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK, School of Infantry and Tactics in both the USA and Pakistan and attended Staff College in Nigeria. I have a diploma in African Strategic Studies from Nasser Higher Military Academy in Cairo, Egypt and hold a MA in International Security and Conflict Studies from Dublin City University.

I served with the AU Mission in Sudan, the UN Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone and the ECOWAS Peacekeeping Force in Guinea Bissau. I worked in Darfur when the AU was initially setting up and gathered vital information in remote areas to produce quality evidence based reports that helped facilitate the quick deployment of troops to Zalingei, Nertiti, Mukjar and Kas. In Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau I was involved with DDR programmes and my interaction with excombatants during demobilization further enlightened me to the intricacies of the war which has proved invaluable to my understanding of causes of conflict and exposed me to ways that help prevent, resolve and transform conflict effectively. I have also represented the GAF at several ECOWAS security meetings and contributed as a member of a Working Group, at the UN Headquarters in New York on two occasions where issues regarding peacekeeping and regional security where discussed.

Liaising with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and International NGOs in Sierra Leone and Darfur also enlightened me and broadened my understanding of the role international institutions play and how they operate in conflict-affected areas which is vital for the effective coordination and delivery of much needed aid. In Sierra Leone I observed with keen interest on how the UN Force Commander tactfully negotiated a settlement with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) which started the disarmament process. The knowledge has formed a good base for discussions at home and during ECOWAS security meetings where I have helped to shape and promote policies that have reduced the potential for conflict and build peace in West Africa. My experience working in rural Africa has also enhanced my ability to effectively liaise and network with local populations, NGOs and key international partners.

Recent experience working with credit unions has exposed me to the world of microfinance and the vast potential credit unions hold to spur social and economic change. To further enhance my understanding and insight in this particular area, I recently attained a Professional Diploma in Financial Advice and a second Professional Diploma in Credit Union Advice with a view to explore how sustainable microfinance initiatives may expand to an even greater number of Africas poor especially in rural parts of the Continent. Frequent trips to Africa keeps me in touch with the painful reality on the Continent which motivates me to remain focused on dedicated research for innovative ideas. I am always willing to share my experience and contribute where appropriate with a view to assist in creating lasting and positive change in the lives of the vulnerable whose pain and suffering remains vivid and a deep concern. When I need a break from my research and studies I enjoy the privilege of having a pilot's licence and take to the skies.