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Congratulations Dr. Touray!

May 22, 2008, 5:04 AM

We extend our warm congratulations to Dr. Isatou Touray of GAMCOTRAP who was honoured by the United States Embassy yesterday as Embassy Banjul's Nominee for the 2008 Secretary of State's Award for International Women of Courage.

The award, given annually, pays tribute to women of courage around the world and holds them up as examples of hope, strength, and compassion.

The role of women in society cannot be overstated and this award is recognition of that fact. The US Ambassador Barry Wells, speaking at a luncheon honouring Dr. Touray, described women as essential agents in bringing about change. He said that women are an often overlooked resource in the preservation of human security, in overcoming transnational dangers, and in managing threats arising from tyranny, trafficking, poverty and disease.

Thankfully this is changing and the role of women in society is widely recognised in The Gambia. This does not mean that we can rest on our laurels however as until every young girl is educated and her health protected we will not have completed our task.

We are being greatly helped our road to full equality and the recognition of women's rights by Dr. Isatou Touray and all who work with her in GAMCOTRAP. GAMCOTRAP is grounded in grassroots activism, working with communities in trying to understand the issues inimical to their health and well being.

According to Dr. Touray, the honour gives them the courage and commitment to continue the work they are doing. "The sacrifice is worth it because of the difference it makes in the life of the poor, vulnerable and powerless people we serve".

These are indeed laudable sentiments and highlight the depth of character of which Dr. Touray is possessed which led to her being honoured in this way by the United States. In typically selfless fashion Dr Isatou Touray used the occasion to dedicate the award to GAMCOTRAP, all its members and the community based facilitators who she added, have been engaged in the struggle for the promoting women's and children's rights.

"We are committed to the work we do because there are people who believe in the cause we stand for and who provide the support needed to continue engaging constructively with the communities we serve", she said.

Dr. Touray is a role model to all women in The Gambia young and old. She and GAMCOTRAP are working at the coalface empowering women and improving the lives of those who might not otherwise be helped. Her courageous work is worthy of widespread emulation.

"The extension of women's privileges is the basic principle of all social progress."

Francois Charles Fourier.