Friday, March 18, 2011

Government is the primary duty bearer in advancing development

In part two of this interview, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP Dr. Isatou Touray has been telling The Voice Newspaper that The Gambia Government is the primary duty bearer in advancing development in a country.
However, she said the government cannot do it all alone, thus, it should allow and give civil society the opportunity to play their part. The Gambia Committee against Harmful Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP) and other organizations are contributing to the development work of the Government of The Gambia socially, politically and economically.

On the occasion of celebrations marking International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011, she said theme “Equal Access to Training Science and Technology Pathway to Decent Work for Women” is good however, given the global context what led to the hundredth year anniversary is about the concerns of women, the need to take strategic directions for women of the world in our various countries context.
“The context which Gambia works in addressing these concerns have a lot to show but there is a need to look at these things as to how much have been done for the last 100 years,” she said. “We are in the second generation of activists who are carrying the burden from the older generation, rocking the voices and concerns of women and we will leave it somewhere where the third generation will pick from.”
She said GAMCOTRAP has moved quiet a long way within a short period and due to the low literacy level in The Gambia, their work has been very difficult but have shaped the understanding of the people on harmful traditional practices.
 “We most understand that in every region in a country you have a context and literacy is a very critical factor in trying to bring changes. If you look at Gambia’s situation the literacy rate from what we have seen then was not very good, but there is progress going on you will still find that about 75 percent of the rural population cannot read and write,” she said.
She explained that they use local languages to communicate to rural folks in their fight against harmful traditional practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which affects the health and wellbeing of women. 
Part of their campaign is on gender serotype, forced and early marriage, and equal opportunities for males and females.
She said a lot has been achieved  on closing the gender gap on education and decision making processes, however, women are still facing challenges and the distance is apparent, because not many people understand the meaning of gender equality.
“The whole issue is to give equal opportunities to men and women at home, working places and in society, she said. “What GAMCOTRAP and women rights activists are doing is to look into the sexual and reproductive health rights of women in which we are making progress, we were able to convince 78 circumcisers in 415 communities in 2007 and 2009 to drop their knives.”
GAMCOTRAP’s Programme Manager, Amie Bojang Sissoho highlighted major issues affecting their work and that which are confronting the advancement of Gambian Women.Source - The Voice

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