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FAWEGAM convenes inspirational forum for girls

Jul 28, 2011, 1:19 PM

Forum for African Women Educationalist (FAWEGAM) - The Gambia Chapter on 25 July 2011 commenced a five-day inspirational forum on “taking our daughters to work”, at the Gambia Pastoral Institute (GPI).

The event brought together 20 Upper Basic schools from across the country to participate in a unique mentoring activity attempting to combat obstacles faced by girls in communities.

The issues, such as early marriage, peer pressure and low self-esteem as well as encouraging promising girls to take their education more seriously, were the main topics of the forum.

Speaking at the ceremony, Absatou Saidy-Camara, assistant coordinator of FAWEGAM, said their organisation has different models it uses to advocate for women and girls education.

“In the past, FAWEGAM had arranged for girls to stay with women from different careers like police officers, managing directors, and education officers to learn the day-to-day life of what a professional woman entails,” she said.

She noted that the organisation believes that for a girl to escape the poverty trap she should not only have basic education but must also ensure to complete college or university education.

While emphasising that the event would expose the students to so many life-changing experiences, the FAWEGAM assistant coordinator also asserted: “We will monitor these girls to see how they can progress in their educational pursuit.”

Kadijatou Jallow Baldeh, chairperson of FAWEGAM, in her remarks, revealed that the programme of ‘take our girls to work’ is an attempt to encourage girls to stay in school and take their education seriously.

“The members of FEWEGAM, through support from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, UNICEF and other strategic partners, are convinced that this will motivate girls to stay in school and work hard to achieve their dreams,” she emphasised

She says they are anticipating a tracer study that will serve as a follow-up on girls who have benefited from this exposure in previous years, to find out where they are and what they are doing.

She also encourages young girls to use the opportunity accorded them to work hard, look for more information to improve their knowledge in order to live dignified lives in the future.

Also speaking on the occasion, Pamela White, US Ambassador to The Gambia, said: “It is not just enough for African women to go through primary school.” She urged young girls especially to nurse bigger and better dreams which when realised would help them to take their community and the continent forward.

She encouraged the participants to take full advantage of the programme by improving their skills to achieve their visions and dreams.

Aichatou Diawara-Flambert, a representative of UNICEF, in her speech on the occasion, said: “Having opportunity to bring women of high professional standing in the society to talk to you and share with you their experiences as professionals is indeed highly welcomed by UNICEF.”

Flambert described the forum as not only inspiring girls to do more in school but also helping them to make decisions about what they want to be in the near future. “Our contribution to society as women is formidable,” she said, adding that they are educated and empowered to provide immense contribution to the advancement of society.

She urged the girls to take full advantage of the five-day forum so they could make informed decisions about their careers in the future.

She also applauded UNICEF’s continued collaboration with FAWEGAM to advance the cause of girls and their education in The Gambia.