Feb 23, 2016, 10:05 AM
The article was entitled with the headline “Women challenged to put up a presidential candidate for 2016 election” and it quoted Ms. Badije as having “challenged women to put up a female candidate for the forthcoming 2016 presidential election”.
ActionAid wishes to communicate to The Point newspaper and its readers that Ms Badije’s speech was taken out of context in the article published by the newspaper.The speech made by Ms Badjie focused on the opportunity of women’s inclusion and participation in development. ActionAid wishes to emphasise that it is an apolitical organisation and has no intention to partake in partisan politics and does not seek to encourage the selection or identification of candidates to contest elections.Please find here the full statement delivered by Ms Badjie on behalf of ActionAid:
Speech delivered by Musukuta Badjie, ActionAid Agro-ecology and Resilience Project Manager, on 17 March 2016 at the Gambia Teachers’ Union in Kanifing:
Gallant female members of the GTU
All other protocols respectfully and duly observed.
I am honoured to have been asked by my institution to give a statement in this auspicious gathering that joins the international community in commemorating IWD 2016.
The chosen theme by the GTU status of women’s committee ‘step it up for gender quality’ is apt for many reasons:
It is in line with the global theme ‘planet 50-50 by 2030: step it up for gender equality’
Time to step it up for more women representation in leadership positions especially in political fronts
A call for more inclusion of women in development processes and structures
Step up in fighting against and barriers to women’s empowerment/development and opportunity to build women’s resilience against all odds
The Gambia like many other countries in the Sahel region is experiencing shocks and setbacks largely cause by natural disasters, economic and social crises. Over the years, we saw an increase in people’s vulnerability to shocks and hazards as is evident in:
Rising food prices
Severe crop failure due to droughts
Pests and disease infestations such as - Cattle Bovine Pleuro pneumonia (CBPP).
All these have negatively impacted on the lives and livelihoods of the poor and marginalized especially on women and girls.
Stepping up is a matter of must and priority for everyone especially member states. All over the world, statistics have shown that women and girls form more than the world’s population. Yet our plight is still hanging and left in the hands of few. Women are on daily basis face with the following challenges that impact on them more than others: Poverty, food insecurity, high illiteracy, climate change, lack of healthcare services among others.
Therefore, it is about time we ‘step up’ and assume leadership positions especially in various development fronts and political institutions.The 2030 agenda has set the pace as commitments were taken by state parties to advance women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality.Issues of women and girls are central in all the 17 SDGs but special focus is highlighted in ‘goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’.
The theme by GTU status of women’s committee for IWD 2016 is a challenge for us to join the global strides in building momentums that will not only results in achieving the SDGs but effectively implement the goals.As a group we can advocate and monitor the following step up road map:
•Ensure national commitmentto agenda 2030 constitute strong women and girls empowerment components
•Advocate for enactment and implementation of progressive legal frameworks including ‘creating programs to eradicate violence against women and girls, encouraging women’s participation in decision-making, investing in national action plans or policies for gender equality, creating public education campaigns to promote gender equality’
•Lobby for more budgetary allocation to women’s issues as well as encourage private sector investment in development initiatives
With these commitments, I have no doubt that we will achieve: free quality primary and secondary education;access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education; elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls all over the world; eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in both public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation; eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
As we commemorate this day, I call on all to reflect on progress made, call for change and commitment for a better world. Ladies and gentle me, please allow me to share a poem on the status of women by UN women which will allow us to reflect deeply on this day:
‘She walks for hours to fetch water and toils in drought-prone fields to feed her family…
She left her country with the promise of a good job only to find herself forced into sex work…
She picks up the pieces after a cyclone destroys her make shift home and small business…
She is the provider, farmer, teacher, doctor, entrepreneur, minister, leader, mother — contributing every day to her household, society and the economy’
I therefore call on all as aptly stated by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon:
“..devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future.”
I thank you all for your attention
Happy 2016 celebration”