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Beakanyang encourages women to contest elections

May 3, 2011, 2:13 PM | Article By: Soury Camara

Beakanyang Kafo on April 30th 2011 held a one-day workshop aimed at encouraging more women participation in politics at the community level.

The workshop held at the Barrow Kunda Lower Basic School in Wuli West District Upper River Region attracted over 60 participants from across URR.

The workshop also sought to increase the number of elected females in decision-making positions in the forthcoming local and National Assembly elections.

"Our ultimate objective is to have the number of women contestants increased in all our elections. To facilitate the participation of local women leaders in the local government and constituency elections across URR and beyond," said Nfamara Jawneh, Beakanyang Secretary General.

He added: "We know it will not be easy to achieve this alone and, as a result, we are building strategic alliances with the political parties, local councillors, traditional leaders, the media and women themselves."

According to Jawneh, promoting democracy at the grass-roots level is essential for our democratisation process.

In officially declaring the workshop open, the acting Head Chief of Wuli West, Alhagie Kemo Jatta, applauded Beakanyang for sensitizing the women on their political rights.

He assured them of his continued support and collaboration while expressing his interest in joining Beakanyang as honorary member.

"As from today I would like to join you in your efforts to develop this area," he said.

A veteran female politician in the area, Aja Jawaro Jawneh from Sare Ngai, said: "It has been a long time for us to have this kind of forum in this area, and we are grateful to the organizers."

She encouraged the women in the area to support each other, and to remain united for their common good.

The councillor of Sare Ngai Ward, Alkally Kebbeh, said that Gambian women have been benefitting from an enabling environment created by the Jammeh administration, and cited the Vice President Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy as the longest serving female vice president in Africa.

He urged women to be educated to enable them attain key positions in government.

"Low level of education has been a major obstacle for many women to take leadership posts, especially in this part of the country," he lamented.

Tumani Danjo, president of Beakanyang, reiterated the resolve of the community-based organisation to complement the government’s efforts in nation-building.

"We are very much grateful to the US Embassy in The Gambia for sponsoring this and many other events for us through its Human Rights and Democracy Fund," he said.

Other speakers included officials from the National Council for Civil Education, Alkalo Foday Barrow, and Mariama Barrow Beakanyang’s first vice president.

Presentations at the workshop focused on the forthcoming general voter registration, women participation in politics, duties of a citizen as well as an overview of Beakanyang.