Jul 3, 2008, 8:32 AM
Anna Jones, programme officer of WANEP-Gambia, said WANEP is legally registered as a non-profit organization with NGO status granted in 2006.
“It is a network of local organizations promoting issues of peace building, democratic governance, development and gender. With memberships of 30 national and community-based organizations,” she said.
The organizational structure comprises general member assembly for policy formulation, board of directors, and a secretariat responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the network, she added.
Ms Jones told the participants that International Women’s Day, observed annually on 8 March, is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
“It has been observed since the early 1900s, at a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies,” she explained.
Ms Jones said, women in peace building programme is one of the thematic areas of WANEP, a Civil Society Network Organization workingacross the West African sub-region to build the capacity of peace building and conflict transformations.
The WANEP’s WIPNET programme began in 2001 with the campaign called Women’s Peace Activism and it has been building the capacity of women and women’s groups in West Africa to play more visible and active roles in promoting peace and security in the sub-region.
Amadou Cham of Women’s Bureau said International Women’s Day is a day set aside to celebrate women’s contributions to national and global development, and to further identify challenges faced by women, so as to map out forward-looking strategies.
The celebrations also provide a unique opportunity for women to network among themselves, share experiences and good practices, and enjoy themselves, as well as celebrate together with the rest of society, he said.
“We must therefore act with greater speed and sense of urgency to create Free Trade Areas geared towards an African Common Market, create the five regions as building blocks of the Union, and facilitate the free movement of peoples and goods,” he said.
Cham added that the Government of The Gambia under President Jammeh recognizes the urgent need for accelerated action and increased support for building stronger national health systems to further scale up and leverage the gains being made in expanding service delivery to achieve their universal access target, while at the same time speeding up progress on maternal and child health.
Ms Maria Dacosta, Board Chairperson, noted that the theme, ‘Inspiring Change,’ in observation of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, is apt in the sense that change was essential for the socio-economic advancement of women who constitute more than 51 per cent of the population.
The meeting seeks to provide an opportunity for learning and information exchange with students on the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and women in Decision Making, she stated.