ActionAid Press Release
12th March, 2015
The women of Niamina in the Central River Region have called for their
inclusion in District Tribunals. In a petition handed over to the
Deputy Governor of Central River Region Malang Saibo Gassama who represented the CRR Governor, the women noted that most of them cannot express themselves in the midst of men when they are violated particularly in their marital homes. ‘We are therefore demanding to be included in the District Tribunals because there are issues that affect us the women that can only be addressed by women, as we can only disclose them to a fellow woman,’ they said. The demand is among six others that were handed over to the Deputy Governor as part of celebrations marking International Women’s Day held in Kudang.
The women called not only for access, but ownership and control over
land, saying ‘if we are to solve hunger and reduce poverty, it is vital that we the smallholder farmers and other marginalized rural women are given the required support needed for our production’. The women stated that they face a lot of gender based violence ranging from rape, wife battering, early and forced marriages. They therefore urged the authorities to enforce laws relating to gender based
violence so that perpetrators are brought to justice. Improved access
to markets and price control mechanisms to be put in place were also
among their demands. ‘We will want to be supported to decide how much
we sell our products, not to grow and someone else decides the price
of your own products’, they said. The demands were contained in a
charter that was handed over to the Deputy Governor of CRR.
In a keynote address, Malang Saibo spoke about the tremendous strides
made by the Gambia Government in the advancement of Gambian women
saying that the fulfillment of these demands is amply demonstrated by the numerous projects being initiated and implemented by The Gambia Government giving examples of the NEMA and FASDEP projects. He thanked ActionAid for the support it continues to provide to the Gambian people and pledged to submit the women’s
demands to the Governor.
The Executive Director of ActionAid, Omar Badjie, represented by the
HIV and AIDS Manager Almamo Barrow also spoke at the ceremony and
highlighted the tremendous achievements made in improving the lives and living conditions of women and girls. These include increased
enrollment and retention of girls in schools, parity at primary level in The Gambia, improvements in women taking up decision making positions and their participation in peace building, disaster response among others.
Laws and policies that protect and promote the rights of women have
also been put in place.
‘However more than 100 years after the first International Women’s
Day, nearly 20 years after Beijing and almost reaching the deadline of
the MDGs, we stand at a crossroads. Poverty, hunger, maternal
mortality, HIV&AIDS still remain a menace that disproportionately
affect women and girls’, said Mr. Barrow. He urged community leaders,
local authorities, members of the Multi-Disciplinary Facilitation
Teams, journalists, musicians, law and policy makers to renew their
commitments to end all forms of Violence Against Women, stand up for
justice and women empowerment.
A similar celebration was held in Albreda in Upper Niumi, North Bank
Region jointly organised by ADWAC, ACTIVISTA and ActionAid.
The women handed over their demands to the Governor and National
Assembly member. The National Assembly member, Mam Cherno Jallow spoke about the National Women’s Act, the Sexual Offences and Domestic
Violence Acts which were enacted by the National Assembly and are geared towards the advancement and protection of women. He urged the
women to be thankful to the government of President Jammeh for its
commitment to the advancement of Gambian women. The Governor of NBR
Lamin Queen Jammeh spoke along similar lines emphasizing the numerous
strides undertaken by government such as the establishment of Girls
Education Trust Fund, the increase of female intakes at Gambia College
and the provision of school improvement grant all geared towards
promoting women empowerment.
Mam Samba Joof, the Executive Director of ADWAC commended the women
for their hard work and renewed ADWAC’s commitment to the advancement of women in Upper Nuimi. Both ceremonies were punctuated by march past of women, testimonies from women representatives on how ADWAC and AAITG’s work in the LRPs is changing their lives, drama and cultural performances.
The female alkalo of Juffureh Aja Tako Taal and the Chief of the area,
the NBR Technical Advisory Committee, community leaders, ACTIVISTA
youth club, women and a cross section of society graced the occasion.