By Mustapha S Koli
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Hon. Fatou Kinteh, stressed that the Gambian government attaches great importance to the empowerment of women, as a key catalyst for national development.
Madam Kinteh, made these remarks, wednesday 14and April 2022, during a meeting with project beneficiaries in the coastal community village of Tanje during a one-day familiarization visit to the fish landing site projects.
The projects are implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare in collaboration with the World Food Program and the Gambia Red Cross Society in the coastal villages of Gunjur, Tanje and Sanyang.
The multiple projects are intended to support women fishers on the coasts with smoking rooms, smoke ovens, solar dryers, cold rooms, storage rooms, cooling items, rest rooms, sanitary facilities, boreholes and solar pumping systems, among others. This is part of the ministry’s Covid-19 response strategy to consolidate and strengthen its support for promoting and improving the lot of women in the fishing industry.
The objectives of the tour are among others to obtain first-hand information on the overall implementation of the project, as well as to assess the progress of the construction of the works and to discuss with the management and development committees of identification of sites for other project components.
These women’s empowerment projects and programs are anchored in the ministry’s 2022-2025 strategic plan dedicated to addressing gender imbalances, promoting gender equality, social injustice, increased integration of women, children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and vulnerable in the overall development process and ensuring that their rights are respected, protected and promoted, as formulated in the National Development Plan 2018-2021 ( NDP).
Addressing the beneficiaries, Minister Kinteh elaborated on the importance that the Gambian government attaches to the empowerment of women, which led to the establishment of a ministry to coordinate, promote and respond to issues affecting women in the country.
The mandate of the ministry includes but is not limited to formulation of policies, implementation of projects and programs for the empowerment of women as a key enabler of the national development plan.
However, she emphasized the need for sustainability which she believes can only be achieved through collective collaboration, cooperation, communication and rapid coordination among grantees to design and adapt responsive sustainability mechanisms for posterity.
The projects, she added, were designed and implemented to meet the needs and aspirations of beneficiaries as prioritized during community consultations conducted in 2020.
The Minister urged women to maintain the project to contribute to food and nutrition security, self-employment and economic independence.
Mr. Lamin Bojang, speaking on behalf of Alkalo of Tanje, expressed satisfaction with the timely intervention of the ministry to address the plight of female fish processors in the community. He therefore challenged the beneficiaries to take ownership of the projects and maintain the facilities as they should, while assuring the women on his committee of his constant support.
Madame Fili Sarr from Tanje, among others, made remarks during the tour.
Once these projects are completed, 700 families are expected to benefit in the villages of Sanyang, Tanje and Brufut.