By Awa B. Bah
The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the health of women and girls (GAMCOTRAP), in partnership with Save the Children on Thursday 3rd August 2017, ended a three day training for religious and community leaders of Seffoe, Tujereng and Farato, on Child Protection.
The training aims to create awareness on child protection for religious and community leaders in order to reduce and eventually stop all forms of exploitation, be it psychological or physical and all forms of sexual violence against boys and girls within the SeneGambian sub-region.
Alhagie Baba Ceesay, the Imam of Farato and Sheikh Omar Fofana, the religious spokesperson of Gamcotrap, both concurred that training people on children rights and responsibilities is key in national development, adding that Gamcotrap is moving towards the right direction. They promised to make the best use of the knowledge and further disseminate what they’ve learnt to their respective communities.
They both remarked that educating leaders to know their children’s civil rights and responsibilities is part of empowering them particularly the girl child, adding that Children are the hope of the future. Both also assured the full collaboration of their communities in the fight for the rights of children and urged all to see children as the most valuable assets of the Gambia.
In a similar but different engagement, GAMCOTRA concluded a two day capacity building for teachers in Kombo East, Central, North and South, on Friday 4th August 2017, at the Regional Education Directorate office, in Brikama.
The Acting Executive Director, Mary Small, said Gamcotrap has collaborated with partners, to empower local communities to strengthen the protection of children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence.
The project she said, focuses on strengthening child protection efforts both at the institutional and community levels and empower communities and local partners to protect children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence, adding that it will also empower the children themselves by improving their well-being and fulfill their rights to protection.
‘‘Child protection is key in the development agenda of Government. Government has signed and ratified legal instruments that protect children from any form of exploitation, abuse, violence and neglect by individuals, institutions or processes, which directly or indirectly harms or facilitates to harm children or damages their prospect of safe and healthy development into adulthood,’’ she said
Mr. Omar Jatta, the Regional Education director for Region Two, said educating teachers on Children’s rights and responsibilities was very timely. He noted that it is their responsibility to provide quality education to the young ones in particular, as this will help to boost their knowledge and skills to enable them yearn for the future as responsible elders.
He urged the selected teachers to make the best use of the training as this will encourage more participation in the decision making process by students, both at the school and community level, for the development of the Gambia.