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Network on gender-based violence to hold strategic meeting

Jan 11, 2012, 2:37 PM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

The Network on Gender-Based Violence The Gambia (NGBV) will be hosting its 7th network forum to review and adapt a draft constitution and a strategic plan at the NaNA conference hall tomorrow.

According to officials of the network, the forum will pave the way in tackling the menace of violence against women and children to enable these segments of society to actively participate in the socio-economic and political development of the country.

The forum was borne out of recommendations emanated from a previous forum for the development of a strategic plan for the network as well as for the drafting of a constitution to register the network as a community-based organisation.

The NGBV was established in April 2009 by a membership of civil society organizations and government institutions in The Gambia that are working against gender-based violence.

The network is currently implementing a three-year project being funded by the Finnish Government under the Finnish Development Fund.

The objectives of the network are to raise awareness to minimize violence against women and children in homes and schools across the country, to advocate for gender-friendly laws and policies, to engage stakeholders to incorporate gender issues in our cultural and institutional settings, among others.

The idea of establishing the network came during a meeting between Saija Jarvinen, legal officer, Ministry of Justice and Prevention Department of Finland, and Haddy Mboge Barrow in June 2005.

Both of them have a good background working in the field of gender-based violence at policy level or service delivery level.

It was reported that during their discussions it was agreed that despite the cultural differences between Finland and The Gambia issues pertaining to violence, especially on women and children, as a result a network was introduced to contribute to the reduction of gender-based violence.

 In 2008, Saija shared this information with Saara Ruokenen, a consultant and coordinator of local efforts for all pilot projects supported by the Finnish Government, and she embraced the idea as she was already implementing a similar project in Morocco.

It is against this background that Saara and Saija visited The Gambia in April 2009 to discuss with the local partners working in the field of gender-based violence, and engaged in consultation and project designing for funding in 2009.

The members unanimously agreed that there is a lot be done in this area including networking in the first phase of the project to help in establishing what has been achieved, fill in the gaps to pave the way forward.

One of the activities under this project is to set up a “Project Network Forum” that will include all the relevant stakeholders that are working or have interest in gender-based violence.

The forum served as a platform for exchange of ideas on strategies to effectively combat gender-based violence.

It has also enabled members to share achievements and challenges in the fight against gender-based violence and initiate strategies for effective collaboration and partnership.