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Madrassa Engagement Project: GBV awareness training wraps up

Jul 21, 2016, 11:39 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

(Wednesday July 20, 2016 Issue)

A four-day training for hundreds of madrassa students in West Coast Region on gender-based violence (GBV) recently ended at the regional Education directorate in Brikama.

The training was organised by the Girls’ Agenda with funding support from the UNFPA Madrassa engagement project.

The madrassa engagement project is a building and advocacy engagement activity to inform the participants about gender-based violence as well as to break a culture of silence and fear of intervention in secluded institutions.

“We believe that eradicating gender-based violence in The Gambia is a collective responsibility and all young people deserve to be engaged in it to protect, empower them to be perpetrators and encourage them to add their voices against discrimination of all forms.  

In her welcoming remarks, Matilda Daffeh, the programme coordinator of The Girls’ Agenda, said the training was carried out to build the capacity of the madrassa students on gender-based violence and to spread the information so that it would uplift the young people to partake in national development.

The training will be centred on how to help the girl child and young people in order to prevent them from violence that are hampering them in their homes, streets, workplaces and schools.

The training will be a four-day affair in which we will discuss many issues and to remind ourselves on the issues affecting both boys and girls but girls are mostly affected by child marriage, teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence

“The facilitators that will expose you in this training are well-known and they have vast knowledge in the area that you will be trained.”

 I implore the participant to go back to your madrassa schools try and share the knowledge gain with your colleagues who are not fortunate to be part of the training.

Alagie Jarju, Programme manager of the National Youth Council, said the training is very important and timely and our work as the national youth council is to stand for the young people and many of you here did not know the NYC is your mandate to know the council, NYC was established by the government in 2000, the establishment of the council is meant to serve as an intermediary between young people and the government and to extend the government’s aims, development projects  to the young people.

“We see that most youths are not exposed to these types of forums or training, but the aim of the National Youth Council is to listen to what they say and not to decide for them.

In doing so they will tell us what they want us to do for them, that’s why we have decided to call on the madrassa students,

He added that here is not a class where a teacher will say something and you repeat after him but to discuss issues affecting us.”

He added: “We are not here to learn and keep it within ourselves; let us be ambassadors who will disseminate the knowledge gain from this to your peers, schools, homes and even in the communities.

“I thank UNFPA for funding the madrassa engagement project on Gender Based-Violence.”

Fatou Kinteh, the national programme officer of UNFPA, said UNFPA is fighting for human rights, which is why the forum is to talk about the injustice done to the youths, particularly to girls, who are vulnerable to these practices, such as child marriage, FGM and GBV.

“We are currently working with the education department to ensure that we re-introduce POP/FLE in our conventional school and to the madrassas.”

Oustass Musa Jaiteh, principal of the madrassa school, said we are not used to this type of programmes although our teachers are usually invited to such forums.

He added: “We should all seek knowledge, no matter what, because it is very important. As future leaders we should try by all means to learn and be ready to listen to each other even if it is nonsense, take the nonsense from it.