By: Kebba AF Touray
The Minister for Finance, Mambury Njie, has informed the National Assembly that the Gender Ministry has disbursed a total of D7.4 million as loans since the enactment of the Women Enterprise Fund.
“Following the enactment of the Women Enterprise Fund to strengthen the capacities of women and girls in MSMEs, over 96 women groups across the country have benefitted, and more than 2000 women trained on entrepreneurship and business management skills, while a total of D7.4 million was disbursed as loans,” he said.
He said that the Gender Ministry will continue to work with UNFPA and the Ministry of Health to rollout the ‘KABILO Bama Initiative’ currently operating in the Lower River Region.
Minister Njie explained that the aim of the initiative is to improve clinic attendance by women and children as well as enhance income of women and families through small business.
“Fifty-eight communities in Kiang East and West have so far benefitted from this initiative and 174 women and men have been trained on livelihood skills,” he told the legislature.
With support from the AfDB and UN Agencies in The Gambia, he said, the Women’s Act 2010, Sexual Offences Act 2013, Domestic Violence Act 2013 and the Children Act 2005 are currently being reviewed.
For effective implementation of these policies and legislative frameworks, he stated that the Gender Ministry has established the centre for Victims of Domestic Violence at Bakoteh with support from UNFPA.
“The Gender Based-Violence helpline (1313) and the Children’s helpline (199) are both fully established and operational for the reporting of cases. With support from UNFPA, a facility at the Shelter for Children was refurbished and is currently serving as a Women and Girls Empowerment Centre for temporary accommodation and counseling of victims of SGBV,” said Minister Njie.
He also stated that with additional support from UNFPA, a girls’ Centre for the production of sanitary towels in Basse is being established, as well as a Fistula Rehabilitation Centre in LRR funded by the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre.
“The Ministry has facilitated the reintegration of 159 children from Senegal and re-united them with their families. In partnership with Child Protection Alliance, thirty child protection actors were trained on advocacy for increased investment on children,” he said.
He further said that as part of the Government’s response to the negative economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and with the assistance of the World Bank, the National Nutrition Agency put in place a mechanism to assist over 78,000 households in 30 of the poorest districts in the country.
This, he stated, was implemented through a four-month cash transfer program, the “Nafa Quick”. The support helped families meet their basic needs during the rainy season, which was made worse by the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 crisis.