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EU Ambassador Lajos: ‘Gambia Has Decided, EU Has Decided Too’

Feb 14, 2017, 1:14 PM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Attila Lajos, European Union Ambassador to The Gambia, on Friday said since The Gambia has decided the EU has also decided and the decision is to help the country.

“The Gambia has decided and I can add that the EU has decided too,” he said.  “The more democracy, the more support.”

The EU diplomat made this statement at the graduation ceremony of the EU-Actionaid co-funded project on ‘Promoting women’s socioeconomic rights in CRR’ held at the Bakoteh Community Centre.

The graduation of the project, funded to the tune of D26 million (D19 million from EU, D7 million from Actionaid), was marked by presentation of certificates and land documents to the women beneficiaries.

Ambassador Lajos said: “The visit of EU commissioner was a clear signal of the EU’s readiness to provide immediate financial and technical support to the democratic process in The Gambia and its dividend for the population in terms of good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

“The project was one of three projects funded by the EU and implemented by different NGOs. As you may all recalled, the call for proposals was for 4 million euros out of which 369,449 euros were allocated to this actions specify by Actionaid.

“The project was initially scheduled for two years and was recently expanded for another period of six months to allow all partners to conclude relevant activities such as this training we are witnessing today.

“The project is in its completion face and there is ample evidence that significant numbers or desired outputs are indeed achieved.  My statement is also qualified by the recent result oriented mission conducted by independent experts. Based on those facts and what I have seen so far I congratulate our partners for a job well done.

“However crucial issues remain to be effectively addressed in order not to hamper the efforts to achieve or share development objectives including the SDG’s. Indeed, domestic violence, FGM, early marriage and other harmful traditional practices are a problem despite being banned especially in the rural areas. Economic dependency is another issue that the EU together with its partners is highly committed to address with activities such as this training.

“As you all know, the EU is very committed to gender equality which is key for sustainable development. Gender equality has been identified as one of the five essential principles of the EU’s cooperation statute. Equal opportunities and access to resources for both men and women are essential to alleviate poverty and to achieve all sustainable development goals. Women play a critical role in addressing the main challenges that humanity faces today such as health, education, livelihood, as well as human rights.  

“In The Gambia as in other countries in the world, gender inequality and poverty are closely related. Besides lacking financial resources, women have unequal access to other basic goods and services namely employment, information, social services, health care, education, and access to infrastructure, natural resources and other basic human rights. These rights are guaranteed by various international and local legislate.”