By Ndey Sowe
The Network Against Gender-Based Violence (NGBV) with funding from Amplify Change through ActionAid International has on Friday 10th of August, 2021engaged domestic and hotel workers on issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the country.
The project aims to address sexual and gender-based violence in work places in The Gambia. The Network Against Gender-Based Violence is the implementing institution.
The span of the project is two years. The first year has been completed and the second year started in July. Officials hope to renew the project to ensure continuity of the work they are doing in the area of SGBV in The Gambia.
According to the network, the ultimate aim is to build capacities especially that of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), women and youth groups and the media to advance the advocacy against SGBV and to promote sexual and reproductive health of women and girls in the country as well as to ensure people know about the laws, and available services to address SGBV in The Gambia.
Fallu Sowe, National Coordinator of the Network against Gender Based Violence (NGBV), said in an interview that they have had engagements with different actors across the country.
“Based on these engagements, we had some revelations from women especially young ladies who are working in these sectors and heard complaints of different forms of sexual abuse and harassment in their work places,” he disclosed.
He added that one of their objectives is to address gender-based violence in workplaces.
“The reason why we targeted these groups is because they are vulnerable and are affected by sexual and gender-based violence in the places they work. It is important for everybody in The Gambia, particularly people who are working in places that are at so much risk for different forms of gender-based violence, be it emotional, economic, psychological or sexual violence,” he said.
Sowe said this prompted the network to have the two-day sensitization on the issues of sexual and gender-based violence and the laws, to enable the participants know what their rights are and where to go to so that their cases can be addressed. He said dialogue is key in addressing SGBV, adding that a lot of SGBVs happen in Gambia’s communities and some of them are built around cultures and religion.
He said: “To ensure we demystify those cultures and traditions that encourage or promote violence, especially violence against women and girls in the Gambia, we must ensure that we use dialogue to engage community people, policy makers, decision makers, religious and traditional leaders, women and youth groups to understand the issues and to know the advocacy is there to protect all of us.
Sowe said it is important for people to know the reporting mechanisms for cases or suspected activities of SGBV. He advised Gambians to report cases of sexual or physical violence to the police under the Department of Social Welfare, Chiefs, Alkalos, the Network Against Gender-Based Violence, and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare through the hotline: 1313- free of charge across all networks. One can also call the Network Against Gender-Based Violence on 9933491.
“If you don’t want your name to be involved, you can tell them and they will ensure that your name will not be mentioned, but the authorities will intervene in that matter,” he assured.