The Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy recently presided over the Launching of the Gambia National Chapter of Network of Young Female Leaders of West Africa, at a ceremony held at the paradise hotel.
The launching of the Network is facilitated by the Dakar-based ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC) in Senegal and is geared towards the assuming of leadership roles by young females in West Africa, both politically and in the socio- economic development of the sub-regional economic bloc, ECOWAS.
“Recognising the critical role the youth have to play in the socio economic development of the country, the government has put in place several mechanisms that are designed to address the issue of youth,” Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy said in her lunching statement.
She said the National Youth Policy 2009-2018 is a blueprint for Gambian youth meant to engage them in a serious manner into national development and seeks to empower youth through participation and mentoring.
According to her, the policy framework for the National Youth Policy harmonizes the different interventions and provides a more concerted strategy on youth issues. “This will in turn ensure that all actors understand youth issues and work toward a common approach,” she said.
“In recognition of the enormous potential of youth who form the largest portion of The Gambia population and cognizant too that our development objectives will not be attained if the youths are left behind. The government of The Gambia supported by its development partners has made huge investments in youths and in particular young women.”
However, she said with all the effort, there are still some challenges facing youth and women empowerment and needs to be addressed both from the perspective of youth and women empowerment.
The lack of equality between women and men and discrimination against women impede the progress in development, peace and security, and also the realization of human rights, she stressed.
The Director of EGDC Madam Aminatta Dibba describe the launching the Gambia Chapter as timely and relevant for reasons characterized by several years of struggle to get women emerge as leaders.
She said the formation of this Network is most encouraging as it shows that young West African women are determined to forge ahead and correct the imbalance between men and women in the decision making processes.
“Key among the factors that were militated against women assuming leadership position within the formal sector was their lack of basic education skills or low levels of illiteracy,” she said. “The latter is more difficult to address as it is related to attitudinal and behavior change, the challenge of financial resources will mostly be addressed.” Source – The Voice Newspaper