May 6, 2008, 6:43 AM
International the Gambia staff and partners Thursday validated the prepared
report on the ended EC-funded project on promoting women’s socio-economic
rights, at its conference hall.
The three-year project was aimed at promoting women’s socio-economic rights in Niamina East, West and Dankunku districts in the Central River Region.
In his opening statement at the validation, Omar Badjie, Executive Director of Actionaid International The Gambia, described the project as “very important” for Actionaid and The Gambia.
He added that women are central in the work of Actionaid both nationally and internationally.
He pointed out that in The Gambia women have been left behind for a long time because of tradition and culture, which take violation against women and girls to be normal.
Even women accept it as something that was normal, he added, saying the big task they have is to really create awareness both for men and women to realize that certain things they are doing against women and girls are not right.
“We have to change our behaviour to be able to achieve the sustainable development we are yearning for,” he said.
Mr Badjie further said it was only men that are actively involved, with no opportunities given to women to participate actively in development processes, particularly in rural areas.
“Land, which is key for production, is controlled by men,” he stated
Women, he went on, are only allocated the marginal plot of the land which is less productive, saying what the project tried to achieve was putting women at the centre of all decision-making processes.
Women, according to Mr Badjie, have been capacitated to the level that they are claiming space now and vying for political positions, which was not the case in the past.
Although, he said, the project has come to an end they need to learn from it to help them make better decisions.
Mr Badjie thanked FLAG and NAWFA for taking the bull by the horn to be the frontline people in implementing the project.
He equally thanked the EC for funding the project, and women for standing up to challenge long-standing traditions and values to ensure their lives as a nation is improved.
Almamo Barrow, head of Policy and Program at Actionaid International The Gambia, in his welcoming remarks, said they had learnt a lot during the implementation of the project as well as achieved a lot with communities.
He said they had also achieved most of the aspirations of the project.
Lamin Jobe, lead consultant, in his remarks, thanked everyone for the opportunity given to them to produce the report as well as thanked them for their critical analysis of the report.
He said it had shown the level of professionalism Actionaid is known for with the level of validation also showing another manifestation of Actionaid’s commitment to quality.
The project is key as far as Gambia’s development is concerned, he pointed out.
He thanked Pansaw Nyassi for his professional, patience and leadership role during the evaluation process as well as for his coordination in ensuring that the whole process set to achieve was realised.