The West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP-Gambia) and Pro-Hope International in collaboration with FAWEGAM recently conducted a three-day capacity building training for 30 women from the West Coast Region, North Bank Region, Lower River Region, Central River and Upper River Regions respectively in Jarra Soma, LRR.
The training which discussed among other issues the need to vote for women councillors in the upcoming Local Government Election is part of activities of the United Nations Democracy Funded two year project geared towards enhancing women's involvement and participation in the political process and democratic governance in the Gambia.
Speaking at the occasion, the UNDEF Project coordinator of WANEP-Gambia, Sophie Sarr underlined the objectives of the project. These, she said, aim to address the issue of gender equality as one of the key global commitments agreed by the international community within international frameworks such as the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women), Millennium Development Goal 3 (Gender Equality and Empowerment) and the Women's Act 2010.
She thanked the government of The Gambia for taking steps in the selection of some women into decision making positions, but was quick to add that more needs to be done to empower more women to take bolder steps and contest for elected positions to help address the issues that affect women.
According to her, poverty cannot be overcome with few women taking the mantle of leadership and it is in this stride that WANEP-Gambia with its implementing partners Pro-Hope International and FAWEGAM are working towards, as a first step to achieving peace and development through grassroots support to empower women. "The power to make decisions will improve the economic status of women as well as build their confidence and self-esteem," she opined.
The programme manger of Pro-Hope International, Michelle Demba thanked the representative of the governor of LRR and the participants for leaving their busy schedule to respond to their invitation. She urged them to take up the training seriously as it will increase the level of their awareness as grassroots women and equip both aspiring women political candidates and their party representatives with useful knowledge on democracy and campaigning for elections.
Mustapha S. Colley, who represented the governor of the region at the occasion thanked WANEP-Gambia and its partners for empowering women to take up leadership positions. "Women form a large percentage of the Gambian populace and also represent a greater percentage of voters during elections, therefore enhancing their involvement and participation will enhance development in the Gambia," he said.