Kajally Sonko, who was speaking on behalf of the minister made this disclosure on Friday during the launch of the Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia (ITTOG) newly rolled out project called - ‘No Woman Left Behind’. The event also saw the signing of a MoU between The Gambia National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on raising awareness on human rights issues and Tourism.
He explained that ‘No Woman Left Behind’ training programme is aimed at building the capacity of vulnerable women through responsible tourism in The Gambia and for migrant returnees, domestic workers and young women at risk of exploitation.
“However, women empowerment is a critical enabler for sustainable development.” he stated.
In spite of growing recognition of the differential vulnerabilities among women as well as the unique experiences and skills they bring to development efforts, Sonko observed that women still have less economic, political and legal influence and are less able to cope with and are more exposed to inequalities and biases.
He reiterated that women make up 51% of the population with literacy levels standing at 48.1% among ages 15 - 49 according to MICS 2018 report.
“At least 7 in 10 Gambian women have experienced a form of physical violence in their life.”
He said tourism sector has been widely used by perpetrators to capitalise on the vulnerabilities of low skilled, employment seeking and poor folks to subject them to discriminations sexual and gender-based and a lot other vices.
“Therefore, it is prudent to not only build the capacity of the beneficiaries on hard skills but also develop their soft skills to be able to come out of their vulnerabilities.” he said.
Sheikh Tijan Nyang, head of School, ITTOG explained that on ‘No Woman Left Behind’ initiative in terms of recruitment ITTOG has recruited 100% women only course.
“The institute is probably the only training institution in The Gambia that has a Gender Equality Scheme and harassment and bullying policy which they called a scheme and not policy because it is evaluated every 3 years by an independent assessor based in the UK.”
Nyang indicated that the scheme is to actively endeavor to promote gender equality in terms of recruitment and advertising and undertaking all aspects of college procedures.
“Our institution together with our committed partner in Spain is all geared towards providing training for vulnerable women in the promotion of responsible tourism.”
He thanked their partners for the trust and confidence reposed in ITTOG in supporting the initiative, while also thanking NHRC for agreeing to work with them in raising awareness on human rights issues and tourism.
Speakers at the launch included Dr Cherno Omar Barry, who made statement on behalf of chairman of NHRC, Emmanuel Joof on the ‘Need for Human Rights Education in all Schools, Adama Bah, made an introduction to the ‘No Woman Left Behind’ project and Mrs Tabu Sarr from CSO Gender Platform dwelled on ‘Skills and Entrepreneurship Training for women’.