Jun 22, 2012, 3:23 PM
Girls’ Agenda (TGA), an organization working for the promotion of the rights of
girls, recently concluded an awareness creation forum on gender-based violence
and related issues for madrassas (Islamic schools) at the Regional the
Directorate Office in Brikama.
The training on the theme ‘Breaking the silence on often marginalised institutions’ was the second phase of the madrassa training project.
The Girls’ Agenda, through the UNFPA project, has trained 4 schools within the West Coast Region engaging 200 students and teachers on issues of child marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual violence and others.
TGA programme officer Aida Jatta said they are raising awareness not only on issues affecting the wellbeing and freedom of the people in the society but also motivating the population to join the crusade in promoting the attainment of gender equality.
Ebrihima Ceesay, a teacher from Sinchu Sorry Arabic School, underscored the importance of the training while commending TGA for involving madrassas.
He noted that such forum empowers girls and gives them the opportunity to express their views on gender-based violence.
“The issues of early marriage, teenage pregnancy among others have lot of health implications for young girls who are the leaders of tomorrow,” Mr Ceesay said.
The Islamic teacher stressed that Madrassa students are the same as those of the conventional schools, therefore, they should be given the same opportunity and chance given to other students in the society.
Ceesay promised that the participants will serve as ambassadors as well as disseminate the knowledge gained to their peers in school and in the communities.
TGA coordinator Matilda Daffeh said her organisation is inclined to look at the numerous problems affecting girls such as gender-based violence and the solution to such problems.
She said they came up with the madrassa engagement project to address issues like FGM, early marriage, teenage pregnancy among others.
These are part of efforts at bringing such issues to a stop while explaining that the culture of silence is a bottleneck in the fight against gender-based violence in The Gambia.
She commended the Ministry of Education for creating the enabling environment while thanking UNFPA for funding the madrassas second phase training and the National Youth Council for their support.
Executive Director of National Youth Council Lamin Darboe hailed TGA for the fight against violence against women and girls in The Gambia as well as for targeting the madrassas.
According to him, it has been realised that young people going to exclusive Islamic schools have very limited opportunities benefitting from youth empowerment programmes.
He noted that empowering and supporting young girls and women is not just a wise idea but a smart engagement in terms of ensuring that there is productivity, growth and national development.
He commended UNFPA in their drive to fight all forms of violence against women.
Mr Darboe noted that the training comes at a time when the whole world including The Gambia is standing to say no FGM and all forms of violence against women.
He urged participants to disseminate the knowledge gain from the forum.