Forum on gender based violence ends

Friday, July 09, 2010

A one-day workshop on Gender Based Violence against women recently ended at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.

In his opening remarks, the chairperson of the Network on Gender Based Violence Mr. Babucarr Ngum, said that the Network on Gender Based Violence was established in the Gambia in April 2009. He noted that between 2005 and April 2009, many behind the scene discussions and meeting were held in the Gambia before its birth.

The common agreement in all these meetings, he stated, was the same despite the cultural differences between Finland and the Gambia on issues pertaining to violence, especially those perpetrated against women and children.

"To ensure the idea comes to fruition, a task force consisting of local partners (NGOs and Government Departments) working in the area of Gender Based Violence was formed and they were tasked to prepare a concept note and a one-year funding proposal which was submitted to our Finish partners," he said.

Mr Ngum noted that the proposal concentrated mainly on the establishment and functioning of the Network to enable it to engage in capacity building and service delivery or provision.

"The Network on Gender Based Violence is therefore a joint local and Finish initiative aimed at combating violence against women and girls in the Gambia," he said, adding that it is also a platform that seeks to bring together NGOs and public institutions involved in women’s empowerment, as well as to provide coordination and discussion of gender issues in the country.

Ngum stated that the current members of the Network Management Committee are: Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH), Gambia Police Force (GPF), Women's Bureau, Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), National Aids Secretarial, Foundation for Legal Aid, Research and Empowerment (FLARE), Police Child Welfare Unit and Child Protection Alliance (CPA).

The objectives of network, he went on, is to raise awareness and reduce Gender Based Violence in homes and schools in the Gambia, advocate for the creation and implementation of gender-friendly laws and policies and the mainstreaming of gender issues in national and sectoral policies, instigate dialogue and open discussion on women's role in national development and enhance the management of gender based violence.

"These objectives, noble as they are, cannot be achieved by any one entity or individual. To achieve them would require concerted efforts, support and partnership. We know we can together succeed because we have the political will and support and the gender commitment of all the stakeholders,"he added.

He noted that the establishment of the network is not a duplication, but rather an effort to complement and bolster the work and achievements of already existing structures fighting gender based violence in the country. "We sincerely believe that when the players are many and the chorus louder and longer, we would be able to focus the search light on gender based violence and get the attention of all and sundry," he noted.

Ngum further added that they would establish partnership with all the existing structures, share resources, plan and implement similar activities, harness their efforts and galvanize their energies for the cause of women and children. "We are strong and more successful when we collaborate and maximize resources," he concluded.

Author: Isatou Senghore