Women representatives from ten different disabled organisations across the country were trained on gender issues organized by the Network Against Gender Based Violence (NAGBV) at the GOVI head office in Kanifing.
The participants were exposed to The Women’s Act 2010, Sexual Offences Act and Domestic Violence Act to enable them to understand the issues that affect women, in general, and women with disabilities, in particular.
Speaking at the opening, Mrs. Haddy Mboge-Barrow, the National Coordinator of NAGBV, said this training is among a series of training that her network is engaged in. She noted that this particular target group is an integral part of the society that needs to be protected and their rights jealously guarded.
Mrs. Mboge Barrow said the women group falls into a rubric of two and that is they are women and secondly they have disabilities. She said they are perceived by the society as vulnerable and disabled but that does not mean that they are unable to contribute to national development.
The NAGBV National Coordinator said the objective is to create awareness on their rights and how they can claim these rights, including the rights of their siblings. She added that this is why they want to equip the participants to understand the instruments they have in place both nationally and internationally.
Mrs. Mboge Barrow cited a GBOS study which reveals that in the Gambia more than 40% of women have gone through violence in various form. She said the patriarchal nature of the Gambian society has forced many women to accept some forms of abuse or violence as a fact of life.
“With this rational, Gambian women accept beatings when their food is burnt or go out without permission from their husbands,” She said.
Mrs. Mboge Barrow said no woman deserves to be beaten when true relationship exists with understanding.
The Executive Director of the National Federation of Disables, Mr. Ebriama Dibassy, thanked the organisers for choosing this target group.
He said this will avail them the opportunity to interact and share experiences on issues affecting the women with disabilities in terms of what they face in the society and seek to protect them from such unwholesome situations.
Mr. Dibassy said some of these women do experience sexual advances from people who look low on their status, adding that this is a violation of their human rights.
Mr. Dibassy called on other organisations to emulate the NAGBV to further empower women with disabilities.
Deputising the Executive Director of Action Aid International The Gambia (AAITG), Mrs. Fanta Jatta Sowe, said it is a collective responsibility to implement laws so that people can benefit from its provisions. She said Data on Gender Based Violence cases from the One Stop Center is alarming, especially on sexual violence.
The opening ceremony was chaired by the NAGBV Programme Manager, Mr. Fallu Sowe, who also stressed the need for people to report gender based violence cases. He thanked the participants for having trust in what they intend to share with them.