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Vice President to launch National Federation of Gambian women in London

Jun 3, 2011, 4:13 PM

Gambian women in Europe will celebrate the launch of the National Federation of Gambian Women's International Chapter on Friday July 8 2011 at the Porchester Hall in London. This launch ceremony will be graced by Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Saidy-Njie, Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs of The Gambia and a host of successful Gambian women in business and professional life. It will mark the start of mobilising Gambian women in the diaspora to take part in the success story of the National Federation of Gambian Women.

The launch ceremony will be a formal dinner event followed by Gambian entertainment. Members of the Diplomatic Corps in London, international donor agencies, civil society, corporate institutions in London and Europe will also attend. Prominent Gambian women in the diaspora, as well as other African women leading innovative women initiatives will be guest speakers at the launch. These include motivational speaker Rene Carayol, Ana Grey-Johnson, a Gambian woman who was voted best Solicitor in the UK for 2010, Lilian Masebenza, founder and CEO of Mhani Gingi in South Africa among others.

From among these women, the Federation will appoint goodwill ambassadors who will, following the launch of the international chapter, mobilise Gambians and especially women in the diaspora to supporting the main projects of the Federation. The launch ceremony will also be a time to enjoy Gambian culture in food and dance, with Kora artiste Kebba Kuyateh.

The launch is part of a whole weekend of festivities aimed at bringing together Gambian women in Europe to celebrate the launch of the Federation's International Chapter and explore their business opportunities. The weekend's other activities will include a Gambian music concert featuring Gambian and Senegalese artistes including Titi, Pap Thiopet, and Kebba Kuyateh among other, on Saturday July 9 2011.

On Sunday July 10 2011, the Federation will also host a Family Fun Day at a London Park, with traditional Gambian music, food, children's fun fair and stall for sale of Gambian products.

The weekend launch festivities, especially the Saturday music concert and the Sunday family luncheon will offer great summer social interaction for Gambians in the diaspora. They will also serve as trade fair venues. Approximately 200 Federation members and leaders, including business women will travel to London for the London launch ceremonies. They will carry along their products and will be seeking to exchange and form business relationships with Gambians in the diaspora, for mutual business growth. Key international corporations with common business interests in The Gambia and Europe, especially in broadcasting, banking, money transfer, import and export and other services will also grace the festivities.

The London launch festivities follow the national launch of the Federation that was held in November 2010 in Banjul. Since then the Federation has grown quickly and has embarked on ambitious programmes aimed at transforming the lot of Gambian women.


Creating the Federation

In 2010, Gambian women got together to assess successes and challenges in women's development since the establishment of the Women's Council and Bureau in 1980. Here, they noted that despite the commendable efforts of many women’s groups, they lack an effective forum for coordinating their activities. The women thus resolved to form the National Federation of Gambian Women, precisely to inject structure, sound management and sustained organised effort into the activities of the diverse women’s groups in The Gambia.

'Boleh Tahaw'

In 2011, the Federation is focusing on creating a cooperative finance initiative based on a savings and credit model. Called 'Boleh Tahaw' (which means 'standing together'), it will be owned and operated by women. 'Boleh Tahaw' aims at raising a working capital of D250,000,000 (approx. USD 10 million) through savings of a minimum of D500 each. From these savings, a micro-credit pool will be established to provide 'flexible small loans to women as well as pool their investment resources.' To find out more about how to participate in building 'Boleh Tahaw', visit our site at www.gambianwomen.org                       
Multi-purpose Market Complex

The Federation is also embarking on an ambitious project: to build a modern Multi-purpose Market Complex. This four-storey complex will house a shopping mall which will include supermarkets, banks, restaurants, multimedia and business centres, fashion design outlets, clinics, pharmacies, day-care centres, hair dressing saloons, food courts, art and crafts shops and a cinema. Warehouses and cold storage facilities for perishables will be provided, as well as reliable marketing outlets for women in agriculture-based businesses. The Complex will further accommodate conferences, trade fairs and shows.

"For more information on the launch of the Federation, and how you can sponsor the launch event or promote your business, visit our event website at www.gambianwomen.org. You can also follow us on www.facebook.com/nfgw as well as on LinkedIn."