Bureau Executive Director Fanta Bai Secka, has underscored the positive
contribution by Tostan – an International NGO operating in the Upper River
Region towards changing the lives of rural dwellers.
Ms. Secka argued that Gambia cannot develop fully if women are not empowered.
“Women empowerment is important especially for The Gambia, and I will always say that Gambia cannot develop fully if its women are not empowered,”she said. “When women are empowered the homes are strengthened, the communities develop and children and men from those communities also strive and develop to their full potentials,” she declared.
She was speaking at the opening of two days National Sharing Seminar on behalf of the permanent secretary, Office of the Vice President, at a local hotel in Senegambia. The two days convergence was organised by Tostan International The Gambia.
The Women’s Bureau boss stated that communities will always strive when women in those communities are empowered, adding that empowerment of women is key in the agenda of the National Development Plan (NDP).
“We value the partnership between Women’s Bureau and Tostan and we have been very much involved in the work that Tostan does in URR especially in monitoring its activities within the communities.”
Tostan’s engagement, she went on, in sensitising and creating awareness on sensitive issues like the deeply rooted cultural traditional practice; Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation and child marriage are important; as they relate to the health of the girl child and women, adding that these are issues that must be addressed.
She challenged lawmakers to sensitise their communities on FGC and child marriage.
Ousman Sillah, the chairman of the National Assembly Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Humanitarian Relief and Refugees said the select committee recognised the contribution this grass root NGO is doing in the region, while assuring them of their continuous support towards achieving their fundamental goals.
The National Coordinator of Tostan, Edrisa Keita, dwelt on the significance of the seminar, adding that since the establishment of the NGO in 2006, it has contributed effectively in changing the lives of beneficiary communities within the region. The seminar, he explained, was a necessity as it was about sharing inputs.
The lawmaker for Wulli East, Suwaidou Touray, Ebrima Jawo from the NGO Affairs, and Aji Fatou Janneh lady councilor for Serrekunda West both commended the grassroots NGO for not only changing the lives of rural dwellers but also supporting them in the establishment of microfinance projects that seek to empower them.