EU Charge d’affaires: Women still face discrimination in access to social and economic rights


She was speaking Wednesday at the launching of a 19 million Dalasi three year project co-funded by the EU and Action-Aid International-The Gambia in partnership with Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia (FLAG) and the National Women’s Farmers Association (NAWFA). The aim of the project is to contribute to gender equity in The Gambia through greater enhancement of women’s access to socio-economic rights and economic empowerment in Niamina East, West and the Dankunku districts.

Her words:“The Gambia’s development strategy, programme for accelerated growth and employment (PAGE 2012-2015), envisages a strong role for civil society. Civil society organisations working in the area of women’s empowerment and gender equality are vibrant and often a catalyst for positive change in the Gambia. Economic growth rates of recent years have not necessarily translated into the improvement of living standards for all. Poverty, as well as gender inequality, persists in the Gambia where despite the government’s strong commitment, women still continue to face discrimination in access to social and economic rights. Over the years, civil society has become an important channel for delivery of social services and implementation of development programs, complimenting the efforts of the Government. 

“The project we are launching today is funded from the EUs thematic programme ‘Non-State Actors (NSAs) and local authorities (LAs) in development.’ Following open calls for proposals in The Gambia on ‘promoting gender equality through political, social and economic rights for women’, nine proposals were received and assessed by the EU delegation. The subsequent evaluation in October last year established that the proposal from Action-Aid was the most relevant and well- designed of those received. In December, the EU signed a contract with Action-Aid, contributing around 369000 Pounds (approximately 19 million dalasi) to a series of activities to be run by action-aid in conjunction with their local partners, NAWFA and FLAG. The three year project is intended to target 122 small holder farmer women’s group who are actively engaged in the agriculture sector. Each women’s group is made up of around 30 women making the direct project beneficiary population around 3,660 women and a possible knock on impact, through transfer of knowledge and indirect involvement of up to 10,000 people.”  


The success of the project, she stated, requires the cooperation of all to work collectively at the community, district and national levels.

In his remarks, the Governor of Central River Region, Ganyi Touray reminded the gathering of the government’s commitment to the socio-economic development of its people through the creation of the enabling environment for the realisation of that objective. 

“I have no doubt in my mind that this project will significantly complement government’s efforts in developing this region in general. Socio-economic rights are a vital aspect of the human rights agenda for women that denying women access to land and other economic resources would mean violation of their rights. Working to guarantee women’s socio-economic rights in such contexts can be an avenue towards development and better standards of living. 

“The Gambia’s development policies are based on the rationale that broad-based development in general and economic development in particular cannot be achieved without the active participation and involvement of women. Furthermore, the role women as child bearers and nurturers in the society give them the very important task of shaping the attitudes and outlooks of future generations of men and women at a very early stage,” he said.

In his opening statements, the executive director of Action-Aid International-The Gambia, Omar Badjie elucidated: “It is worth mentioning that women’s contribution to the socio-economic development of the nation is seriously hampered due to their limited access to the resources they need for their full engagement in the production system.

“About two years ago a study carried out by Action-aid revealed that women particularly those in rural areas have low literacy levels and poor access to productive resources. This has resulted in women being less productive and heavily dependent on men for their basic needs. This has made them vulnerable to various forms of abuse and violations of their rights,”

The event was attended by members of the EU delegation, chiefs, alkalolu, students, staff of Action-Aid International-The Gambia, women of CRR and other regions.


By Alagie Manneh