Aug 28, 2008, 6:05 AM
Female Lawyers Association the Gambia, a non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-governmental and non-profit making organization, recently held a two -day training for UTG law students as paralegals funded by the American Embassy through its democracy and human rights funds.
The programme, held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, was meant to ensure access to justice for women and children even when legal practitioners are not available.
Speaking on the occasion Neneh MC Cham, president of FLAG, said all their members live and practise within the greater Banjul area and no further than western region.
She said the trainees will have a better understanding of the law and issues concerned, as she urged all the trainees to take the training seriously and thanked the US embassy for the funding.
For his part, Richard Yoneaka, US Charge d’ Affairs, said women are voiceless, most disconnected and the most vulnerable in society.
The US Embassy has grants that will empower 50 women to become paralegals in The Gambia, he disclosed, saying there were 5 grants awarded by the US embassy this year under the democracy and human right funds.
Mr Yoneaka said the grants from the democracy and human rights fund are designed to protect political and religious freedom, the universal human rights of women, persons with disability and other vulnerable minorities.
The grants should have the prospects of issue of several landscapes of human rights in a host country; not to simply raise awareness but to change what has happened and to have impacts, he said, adding that the total amount of the grant is about US$60,000.
For his part, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, said that from various studies of gender-based violence it is seen that about 80% of women who are married approved of wife beating, which is basically in the rural areas.
He said the training will adequately respond to women accepting issues of violence affecting them as normal, as the main reason for this is poverty and ignorance, particularly on matters of the law.