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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Deputy NA speaker: Jammeh is champion of women’s rights

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While making a statement at the inauguration of a market complex composed of 212 shops in Brusubi last week, she said:

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“The multi-purpose market at its completion will have under its roof, shops, vegetable stalls, storage facility, processing plant, a clinic, skills centre and modern mall among others.The objective of the construction is to enhance women’s economic empowerment. It will have a multiplier effect on women in terms of benefits, generation of income and creating employment to improve standard of living and increase in self-esteem and enhance participation in decision-making and national development in a sustained manner.

“President Jammeh is the father and champion of women and women’s rights. The opening of the market is timely since most of the Gambian women are in the informal sector where more than 70% are in the agricultural sector but mostly their production is limited. A lot of women are operating in horticultural production but marketing, storage and processing are major constraints which result in them getting less for their labour.”

She added: “The market is intended to serve as a one-stop shopping complex and will also help to showcase the work Gambian women are doing. Most of them are involved in entrepreneurship activities especially in fashion and design, import and export and petty trading among others.”

The Vice President and minister of Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, delivering a statement on behalf of President Jammeh, said the construction of the market was inspired by a need to alleviate the needs of women .She said:

“The inauguration of the market complex, which comprises 212 shops, is a landmark achievement. The construction of this market is aimed at addressing one of the main needs of the women folk, which is access to market facilities. The vast majority of women farmers grow food mainly for subsistence and their agricultural produce and income are often ploughed back to their household, largely for food and for meeting educational expenses of their children

“Gambian women have always longed for the availability of such a structure consisting of a storage plant to fight against post-harvest loss of  garden produce as well as ensuring the availability of adequate vegetable all year round.The market was conceived, its construction initiated and supervised by Gambian women themselves.I was further informed that future plans are geared towards entering phase III of this laudable project.”

The president of the National Federation of Gambian Women, Fatoumata Jah, disclosed that the federation was formed with an estimated membership of over 500,000 members both in The Gambia and in the Diaspora.

“Our objective for the structure is to complement the National Women’s Council by providing a wider and more representative platform for women. The total money spent on the construction of phases 1 and 2 amounts to D6, 012,685.00.A total amount of D7, 504,100.00 was spent on phase 3, toilet and administrative block and the accumulative total spent amounts to D14, 416, 785, 00.The Federation has plans to have a housing scheme which will be operated by interested women through a registered company under the Federation.

The majority of women do not own property particularly women operating in the informal sector and the low income workers in the formal sector. Widows, single parents and women without children also face lots of challenges due to lack of ownership of properties. In 2013, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs through the Women’s Bureau Development Budget (contribution to local organisations) supported the Federation with an amount of D3M towards the construction of phase III project which consist of 300 shops.In addition, the Women’s Bureau last year supported the Federation’s market with D200, 000 from the same Development Budget for the purchase of building materials. Currently the funds are being utilised for fencing two sides of the market premises.”

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