‘Tostan CEP significantly enhances URR communities’ 

Jan 6, 2021, 11:24 AM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Kajali Sonko, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has affirmed that the Community Empowerment Programme (CEP) implemented by Tostan has significantly contributed to the development and capacity enhancement of communities especially women and girls among others.

“The Tostan CEP has greatly enhanced communities especially women and girls in the areas of human rights, good governance, health, education, environment and economic advancement in the Upper River Region (URR). This is further established by the field monitoring and follow-ups on quarterly basis by the women’s bureau.”   

Mr. Sonko was speaking yesterday at the opening of a two day Sharing Seminar on Tostan CEP. The convergence held at a local hotel in Senegambia was attended by lawmakers among other stakeholders.

Tostan is an international NGO that started operating in URR in 2006 with the objectives of empowering African communities by bringing about sustainable development and positive social transformations based on respect for human rights and dignity for all.

Since 2006 to date, he added, Tostan and its partners with the government of The Gambia through the Women’s Bureau are implementing the CEP in URR and have reached at least 203 Mandinka, Fula, Sarahuleh communities. “As of today, I can tell you that the NGO works in all the districts of the region.”

The first pillar of the eight strategic priorities of the National Development Plan (NDP) is to restore good governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and empowering citizens through decentralisation and local governance.

“Therefore, Tostan’s Human rights based programme is in line with this pillar of NDP and we are proud as a ministry to be associated with Tostan and will provide all the necessary support and technical advice and offer strategic direction for scaling their programme.”

Edrisa Keita, national coordinator of Tostan Gambia, underscored the significant contribution the NGO is making towards improving the lives and livelihoods of the people of URR, adding that Tostan is an NGO operating in URR in partnership with UNICEF and other partners through the Women’s Bureau.

“Since we started operating in URR, we implement a programme called the CEP where we engage community members in various thematic issues; ranging from governance, human rights, democracy, hygiene and health, project management, literacy and SMS texting among others.”

“We want to scale up our programmes in 60 communities in the CRR, starting with districts in the region. Therefore, this is the second edition of our national seminar where we engage lawmakers and different sectors and partners within the country.”

“We will also share with you some of the outcomes of our implementation in URR and our strategic engagement plan in the area we have identified in CRR in order to gather your feedback and recommendations. As policy makers, government institutions and CSOs, you are very relevant in the Tostan CEP.”

Amadou Camara, the National Assembly Member for Nianija, representing the Select Committee on Children’s and Women’s Affairs, assured Tostan of their unflinching support towards achieving their objectives.

“As far as we are concerned, the plight of women and children is among our top priorities in this country as a Select Committee. We therefore thank Tostan for their valuable effort towards the empowerment of women and children in the country.”