By Mustapha Jallow
Jarra West Lady Councilor, Sanjally Saidykhan, has on Saturday called on the government to support and empower women in the rural area of The Gambia to ensure they participate in decision-making processes of their country.
Madam Saidykhan also urged women in her district to know their roles, rights and responsibilities to be able to participate in decision making process.
“Women should know their roles and responsibilities in participating on political positions. They should also know their rights and the rights of children for the benefit of their future,’’ she said.
She made these remarks during the final phase of engagement of a: “Training of community structures on civic education and inclusive participation in decision making processes in the regions.”
The training which was held at Mansakonko conference hall center was themed on “Creating Active, Enhance Civic Awareness and Inclusive Participation in Grassroots Governance.’’ It targeted about 480 participants from Multi-Disciplinary Facilitation Teams (MDFTs), VDCs, WDCs and Mother’s Clubs.
Organised by the country’s National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), the outreach campaign is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) through the United Nations Peace Building Fund (UNPBF).
Saidykhan clamored for women to be given chance to participate in government, saying if 100 women were in political position, they will deliver to expectation and ensure other women are empowered too.
She said women always struggle financially to pay their children’s school fees, describing them as the ‘mother of sustainable development.’
“Women are everything in iterms of bringing development in the country. We have to do our best to ensure women are empowered,’’ she expressed.
She argued that every government ought to set its eyes on women’s needs and their children, adding that most women are suffering, especially those in the markets, gardens etc.
Councilor Saidykhan also urged her people to use knowledge and logic ahead of the political campaign, but not violence or insulting each other etc.
“There is no foul word or anger in politics,’’ she said.
Also speaking at the event, Seedy Saidykhan, a member of the Village Development Committee (VDC) of Kanni-kunda, urged his colleagues to ask questions to the civic educators on issues they do not know or have no idea about. He said this will help them to distribute the information gained from the training to their colleagues who could not attend the training.
Ansumana Ceesay, Senior Program officer for NCCE, told participants their mission is aimed at focusing on creating active citizen awareness.
“If you look at The Gambia at the moment, there are so many things that need to be discussed to create more awareness to the larger population, but we are constrained with resources – that is why we targeted the VDCs, MDFTs and most importantly, the mother’s club,’’ he explained.
“We also believed that the VDCs have a critical role to play when it comes to development for a community. But if you look at the formation of the VDCs and their functions, in most of the communities, there are conflicts between them and the Alkalolu, including seyfolu (chiefs).”
All the conflicts between them, Mr. Ceesay said is caused by low level of awareness on the role and function of each stakeholder within the village.