Network against Gender Based Violence (NGBV) in partnership with ActionAid
International The Gambia, yesterday commenced a two-day sensitization workshop
targeting Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) Gender Officials at the country’s first
Infantry battalion at Yundum Barracks.
The sensitization is part of the activities of a two-year funding from AmplifyChange project- titled ‘Strengthening the Capacity of the Network to advocate for the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia’.
Since 2016, series of activities including capacity building for NGBV members to raise awareness of communities on FGM and other harmful traditional practices have been implemented across the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, acting National coordinator of NGBV Fallu Sowe said the sensitization is intended to create a platform and to educate the GAF gender officers on Gender Based Violence, FGM and equip them on GBV laws, including sexual offences, domestic violence and the women and children Acts.
“The Armed Forces are part of the population and are responsible of defending the country against both internal and external aggression. This is why we deemed it necessary to include them so that their work will be easier as expected,” he said.
The issue of gender is very well critical he said, adding that, that being the case, the network took it as an opportunity to ensure that issues on gender based violence are mainstreamed and the concerns of gender are taken into consideration within the Gambia Armed Forces.
He disclosed that after that sensitization, there will be follow ups as it is the second time that they have conducted such with the Gambia Armed Forces, to see that issues that have been learnt are being put into practice as expected.
Executive chairperson of NGBV Marie Antoinette Corr said they value the participation of the GAF gender officials in creating awareness on some of the harmful practices in the country, saying the silence and violence against women and children has been broken.
“Now is the time for stronger actions and for an effective response to end these violence, different sectors in society must work together. This is why we are engaging GAF gender officials all over the country,” she stressed.
According to her, gender based violence is a serious crime and said awareness is now rising and more people are now taking the lead in defense of women and children.
Omar Badjie, executive director of ActionAid the Gambia said GBV is a deeply rooted traditional practice, saying through socialization “we believed that men are superior to women leading to women and children being maltreated in societies.”
Mr. Badjie said gender based violence happens in different forms both physical and sexual at family, community and national levels, adding that he found GBV frequent at family level.
Brigadier General Ramatoulie D.K. Sanneh said sensitizing GAF gender officials on GBV and FGM is a step in the right direction.
She urged the participants to take advantage of the training and to share the knowledge they will gain from it with their colleagues.