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French Embassy partners Alliance Francaise to launch “WE Together for Women’s Empowerment” project

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By Tabora Bojang

On June 24 2024, the French Embassy in Senegal and Gambia in partnership with the Alliance Francaise launched the “We Together for Women’s Empowerment” project at the Alliance gardens along Kairaba Avenue. 

The project aims to promote women’s empowerment and participation through the use of art, culture, debate and entrepreneurship.

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It will engage civil society and women-led organisations over the next 10 months to raise awareness on issues related to women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality through arts, culture and debates, promote the work of women artists, entrepreneurs, activists and bring forward the voice of inspiring women.  

“We are truly excited to launch this project today with all of you. This project aims to place Gambian women at its centre. For indeed gender equality and women’s empowerment are principles and values that we deeply believe in and we share,” Jean-Charles Allard, charge d’ affaires at the French Embassy in Banjul said at the launching.

Alliance Francaise director Justine Guschlbauer, averred that the aim of the project is to bring women’s voices to the fore through arts, culture and entrepreneurship.

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She described arts and culture as powerful tools to bring women empowerment to the forefront. The project according to her will also work with female Gambian artists to raise awareness and sensitisation on accomplishments and different issues facing women.

The project will also support the work of civil society organisations working on women’s empowerment and gender equality and promote capacity building for young Gambian women.  

Implementing partners, Women’s Association for Victims Empowerment (WAVE), Women In Liberation and Leadership (WILL), Amnesty International KM and Girls Pride will embark on series of activities including sensitisation workshops, capacity building, artistic residencies, mural painting, interviews, exhibitions, screenings, theatre plays, debates, and school engagements among others.

Camille Fournier, cooperation officer for Gambia at the French Embassy in Senegal said the launching of this new project is a testament to the Embassy’s unwavering commitment to women empowerment and gender equality in the Gambia.  She  assured the various partners of the French government’s continuous support  while expressing optimism that the project will be impactful and showcase the strength of women in the Gambia.

Fatou Baldeh MBE, founder and CEO of WILL, expressed optimism that the project will help address obstacles to women’s and girls empowerment across a wide range of issues.

Baldeh, who was honoured with the 2024 International Women’s Rights Award at the 2024 Geneva Summit for human rights and democracy, said her organisation’s intervention in the project will aim to promote, train and advocate for women rights as well as incorporate discussions on issues affecting women and girls including teenage pregnancy, sexual violence, sexual transmitted infections and drug abuse.

According to her, they will also target students and organise seminars and training sessions for young people in selected schools to help build their skills, confidence and capacity on how to take up leadership positions and inspire them to become future leaders.

WAVE Co-Founder and project implementing partner Priscilla Yagu Ciesay, said the organisation will engage women victims in series of programs such as mental health and psychological support, expressive art therapy, skill building, cultural exchange and storytelling sessions to allow for more genuine creating of connections and empower women to speak safely about their journeys.

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