May 8, 2015, 10:41 AM
In acknowledgement of the pivotal role women play in society, the United States Embassy in Banjul yesterday disbursed D2.5 million (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dalasis) to three women rights groups at a signing ceremony held at the American Corner along Kairaba Avenue.
The grant, whose goal is to advance women's political, economic and social rights, went to GAMCOTRAP, FAWE-GAM and the Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia (FLAG).It will assist in providing legal services to women throughout the Gambia through the Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia, in empowering young women, help prevent gender-based violence, and promote women's rights and leadership.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Cindy Cregg, Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Banjul, described women as the backbone of the families in any country around the world, stressing that, yet many a times, they have to struggle to understand that they have rights and, especially what their rights are.
According to Ms Cregg, she thought it important to go in for the grant when the embassy noticed that US department of state would be granting funds for projects that would improve the rights, education and health in Africa.
"These three groups have managed to create a comprehensive project that is designed to improve women's rights, education and health at the same time," she said, while commending Comium for housing the American Corner.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Isatou Touray, Executive Director of Gamcotrap, said her organisation is a women's rights NGO that promotes women's social, political, economic and cultural rights and focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women.
"The organisation creates awareness on traditional practices, and aims at the preservation of the beneficial practices, as well as the elimination of harmful traditional practices that are inimical to the well-being of women and children, particularly the girl child," she stated.
This initiative, she pointed out, is towards the right direction in addressing the socio-cultural and economic factors that affect women's rights and increase women's and girls' vulnerability to FGM and reproductive heath concerns. She said it is also geared towards addressing the gender imbalances that make it difficult for women to control their bodies and take decisions.
Dr Touray thanked the embassy for supporting their work, and for strengthening and appreciating their efforts towards the promotion of human rights, particularly rights of women and children.
The National Coordinator of FAWE-GAM, Yadicon Njie Eribo, said the grant will significantly support FAWEGAM?s work in advocacy, sensitisation and empowerment.
"Women are entitled to live lives free of violence, fear and worries. They should enjoy their basic human rights, and be able to fully participate in politics. Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women rights," she pointed out.
The president of the Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia (FLAG) Janet Sallah-Njie was also full of praises for the embassy. She gave a short preview of her association's constraints and challenges, noting that the grants will go a long way in helping them bridge the gaps.
Lawyer Sallah-Njie said FLAG offers legal services to women, and is currently running a legal clinic. She expressed hope that the project will have a positive impact on the livelihood of women and children in the Gambia.