The Steering Committee(SC) of The Gambia National Chapter of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) met with Excellency President Adama Barrow of the Republic of The Gambia together with in-country UN system and ECOWAS in order to update him on the preparedness of the launching of the Gambia National Chapter and to follow up on their request for his support for launching the Chapter on 16th of May 2023, at the Sir Dawda Kairaba International Conference Center under his patronage.
The meeting was opened by the Secretary General of the Civil Service, Honorable Salimatou Touray. She gave an overview of AWLN as an inter-continental movement which is aimed at empowering African women in decision making in all spheres of life. She then informed the President about the efforts of the Steering Committee (SC) to launch a Gambia National Chapter in due course. On this note, she appreciated the President’s efforts to empower women and encouraged the President to appoint more women in decision making.
Honorable Salimatou Touray then invited the National Coordinator and Co-Chairperson of the SC, Ms. Muna Jallow to continue the conversation. Ms. Jallow, thanked His Excellency President Barrow for granting them the opportunity to meet with him and introduced the Steering Committee (SC), starting from herself as National Coordinator and Co-Chairperson of the National Gambia Chapter, Excellency Dr. Isatou Touray, Co-Chairperson and former Vice President, Excellency Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, former Vice President and Senior Adviser, Honorable Fatou Kinteh, Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Lord Mayoress, Rohey Malick Lowe of Banjul and Mrs. Sarata Conateh, CEO of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce (GCCI ).
Ms. Jallow also introduced the delegation from UN System in the persons of Madam Seraphina Wakana, UN Resident Coordinator, Madam Aisata De, UNDP Resident Representative, Madam Ndeye Rose Sarr, UNFPA Resident Representative in charge of UN Women, as well as Madam Miatta Lily French, ECOWAS Country Representative. She equally acknowledged the attendance of Madam Amie Bojang-Sissoho, Director of Press to His Excellency President Adama Barrow and Madam Salimatou Touray, Secretary General of the Civil Service.
Subsequently, she echoed the introduction of the Secretary General Touray’s of AWLN as a historic intercontinental movement and explained that it was initiated by the Department of Peace and Security of the African Union (AU) with the United Nations and supported by the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and South Africa, as a strategic response to Africa Agenda 2063, which calls for gender parity and the empowerment of women in all spheres of life.
Furthermore, Ms. Jallow informed the meeting that AWLN operates through national chapters which have been launched in 32 countries with support for African governments and their development partners and that the Gambia National Gambia Chapter will be launched as the 33rd one on 16th May 2023 at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center. She then called on President Barrow to support both the launching and institutionalization of the Chapter.
In her turn, the Co-Chair Dr Isatou Touray of the National Chapter underscored the importance of receiving the President’s support to the launching and institutionalization of the event. She also highlighted the six priority thematic areas of AWLN, namely, empowering rural women, political participation of women, young women in leadership, violence against women (VAW), peace and security, financial inclusion and social mobilization.
According to Dr Touray, she cited an example of AWLN’s efforts to empower young women in the form of an international retreat on intergenerational dialogue in which she and Muna participation in Zanzibar in the United Republic of Tanzania from 2nd -4th December together with African Presidents and former Female Presidents, former Vice President and other eminent personalities from the UN System, Europe and other parts of the world. She explained the reason for citing the retreat was to support the need for Excellency Barrow to champion the Gambian National Chapter.
In conclusion, she invited Her Excellency Jallow Tambajang, the Senior Adviser of the Chapter to add to the conversation. Excellency Jallow Tambajang appreciate the opportunity accorded to them by Excellency Barrow to meet with him. She also thanked him for his political commitment to empower women at many echelons of decision making, as evidenced his appointment of competent women in the persons of Honorable Secretary General Touray and Honorable Fatou Kinteh. However, she encouraged the President to bring more women in decision making and support their empowerment as a development priority as contained in the National Development Agenda (NDA).
The UN Resident Coordinator, in her turn, appreciated the launching of the National Chapter and meeting with President Barrow as history in the making. She thanked the President and assured the meeting of the support of the UN to the Chapter.
On invitation as next speaker, Mrs. Sarata Conateh, CEO of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), acknowledged the meeting as a milestone in the history of The Gambia and committed the support of the office to both the launching and work of the Chapter.
Her Lord Mayoress Rohey Malick Lowe thanked His Excellency President Barrow for granting the delegation the opportunity to meet with him and for being a Gender Champion as he had demonstrated in his significant support to her appointment as President of RAFELA. She expressed confidence in the President’s support to the Gambia National Chapter of AWLN.
Honorable Fatou Kinteh, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, acknowledged the efforts of the Steering Committee and support of the UN system and ECOWAS to launch the Gambia National Chapter of AWLN. She also committed to support the Chapter through its membership in the Steering Committee (SC) and other relevant programs. women’s affairs. She concluded that these efforts will be inclusive to ensure the empowerment of all women to avoid the marginalization of rural women. She then informed the meeting about her Ministry’s recently submitted cabinet paper on gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women with focus on influencing government’s adoption of gender responsive policies and programs.
His Excellency President Barrow, supported Honorable Kinteh’s submission and appreciated the meeting with Steering Committee (SC) and development partners for the Gambia National Chapter of AWLN with confidence in the valuable contributions of his two former female Vice Presidents, Excellencies Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang and Dr Isatou Touray to the advancing of Gambian Women and to the Chapter. He also commended young Ms. Muna Jallow for her zeal and dynamic role promoting the initiative and the empowerment of young Gambian women.
On that note, Excellency President Barrow expressed his concerns for the reluctance of female intellectuals to participate in politics and called on them to do so in order to catalyze the achievement of gender parity in politics and governance. He supported the call by assuring the meeting that his government will soon adopt the quota system to demonstrate their commitment to empowering women in all spheres of life.
In concluding, President Barrow happily announced his commitment to fully support the Gambia National Chapter of AWLN to ensure it becomes of one of the best Chapter in the Region.