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Gambia to host 2014 WAF forum

Mar 3, 2014, 9:58 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Women Advance Forum Saturday briefed the press on their upcoming forum to be held in The Gambia.

WAF was set up in 2010 to promote the empowerment and advancement of women in Africa and beyond.

The conference which was expected to be attended by over 500 participants across Africa and beyond was on the theme “Empower the women - give the world a future beyond the MDGs.”

The forum would showcase workshops, capacity building for women, plenary sessions, exhibitions and round-table discussions, among others.

Speaking at the briefing held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, Charles Chikezie, conference coordinator, said for the first time in the ECOWAS region and in West Africa they would be holding the women advancement forum in May 2014.

He said women advancement forum is a specialist organization or a product in ECOWAS put together by Africa Business Networking (ABN) global events. The essence of WAF was to facilitate the empowerment, advancement and the emancipation of women, side by side motivation and inspiration of women, he said.

He said advancement and empowerment could not be achieved without motivation and inspiration which prompted them to come with WAF.

WAF stands on three broad roles, the society aspect, the business aspect and the politics aspect, he said, adding that the holistic aspect is where Africa as a continent and the rest of the world are looking towards and the journey of women getting to the next level was encompassed with women advancement forum.

He disclosed that they would take it from continent to continent and region to region, saying the third conference would be hosted by The Gambia and in the history of Africa, The Gambia was very important.

Mr Chikezie said “if you talked about Africa and failed to say something about The Gambia you are joking”, adding that when you talk about the empowerment and advancement of women, The Gambia is one of the foremost countries that have taken it very seriously with the longest serving woman Vice President in Africa from The Gambia.

He said WAF was all about Africa and the rest of the world and in the link they have about over 300 members and outside the link they also have over 300 members and it keeps growing.

WAF was just three years old, having started in 2010 in Germany, he added, saying to sustain WAF they have come up with events and products.

Hon. Fatou Jahumpa Ceesay, co-host, said the press briefing was on the women’s advancement forum 2014 that will be held in The Gambia from 25 to 29 May 2014.

She said the first conference was held in Berlin and the second was in South Africa, adding that what the forum was trying to achieve was to bring the women of Africa together as a plot for trading so they could have economic integration.

She said they want to make the forum a world economic forum and they would make sure the resolution made during the forum was disseminated to the world leaders and the UN. Madam Jahumpa Ceesay further said women coming to the forum come there to pay and that’s what they use to distribute as aid. Mrs Ellen T. Johnson, committee member, said they have dynamic Gambian women who are working so hard to make ends meet so with such a big conference coming up, they are going to achieve a lot and network a lot.

She said they are going to come up with exhibitions and fashion shows, stating that the fashion shows and exhibitions would be channel through the Fashion Designers Association.

She said they are urging all Gambian women to be on board as they will be expecting over 500 participants. Aji Adu Lette-Sy, member of Fashion Designers Association, said they would coordinate and organize trade and investment forums where there will be opportunities for those coming from outside and Gambian women to network, and to enter into partnerships as much as they could.

She said as a member of the fashion designers association, they have an organizing secretariat that will organize the fashion show.

She said that during the fashion show the guests coming would be lucky to buy their African products.