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H.E. the Vice President Mr Mohammed BS Jallow on the occasion of World Population Day

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Distinguished viewers, ladies and gentlemen

Today, July 11th, 2023, The Gambia will join the global community to commemorate World Population Day. This annual event provides an opportunity to reflect on the critical issues surrounding global population dynamics while highlighting the prospects that lie within our reach. This year’s theme, “Unleashing the Power of Gender Equality: Uplifting the Voices of Women and Girls to Unlock Our World’s Infinite Possibilities” resonates deeply with our nation’s commitment to achieving a more inclusive and equitable society. The theme emphasizes the pivotal role that gender equality plays in unleashing the full potential of our nation and its people.

Distinguished viewers, ladies and gentlemen

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Gender equality stands as an essential pillar for the progress and prosperity of any nation. As a government, we firmly believe that when women and girls are empowered, their voices are uplifted, and their rights are protected, the benefits reverberate throughout society. By embracing gender equality, we unlock a world of infinite possibilities, where the potential of every citizen, regardless of gender, is realized.

Over the years, we have made significant strides in advancing gender equality and empowering our women and girls.

The Gambia government has implemented structural, policy, and programmatic initiatives including the establishment of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare in 2019, with a special unit called Directorate of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment a clear sign of our dedication to promoting and safeguarding the rights of women and girls. The unit is established to coordinate and implement policies and programs that promote gender equality.

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We have also taken decisive actions to reform laws, ensuring that women have equal access to justice, protection, and opportunities. The Gambia government has promulgated several laws such as the Women’s Act, Domestic Violence Act, and the Sexual Offences Act among others which provide legal protection against discrimination, violence, and harmful traditional practices and ensures that women have equal access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. We have also criminalized female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage

We have also implemented policies and programs aimed at empowering women and girls, ensuring their access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Subsequently, we have made remarkable strides in improving the health and education of women and girls. We have witnessed an increase in access to quality healthcare, including reproductive health services, maternal care, and family planning.

By prioritizing the well-being of our women and girls, we have realized a decline in maternal mortality and morbidity.

We have launched initiatives such as the Women’s Enterprise Fund and provided microfinance loan scheme and vocational training for women and girls to economically empower them, foster entrepreneurship, and remove barriers to financial independence. By nurturing women’s economic potential, we enable them to contribute meaningfully to the growth of our economy and break free from cycles of poverty.

These efforts have yielded tangible progress in areas such as education, healthcare, economic empowerment, and women’s representation in decision-making and participation in labor force. Women and girls are breaking glass ceilings, excelling in fields previously dominated by men, and contributing positively to our nation’s development. We celebrate the voices of Gambian women and girls that have risen above challenges, inspiring future generations and igniting change in our society.

Distinguished viewers, ladies and gentlemen

I therefore, commend the dedication and unwavering efforts of our various partners who have tirelessly worked towards the noble goal of gender equality. We cherish their invaluable support in many positive changes we have witnessed in recent years.

Their advocacy, passion, and commitment showcase the power of collective action in shaping a better future for The Gambia.

Distinguished viewers, ladies and gentlemen

As we celebrate the achievements made in bringing our women folks and girls to the fore, we must also acknowledge that there are still challenges to be addressed. The Gambia government will continue to increase opportunities for women and girls in accessing quality education, healthcare, economic opportunities especially in rural Gambia.

On this World Population Day, I call upon all and sundry to renew our commitment to advancing gender equality in The Gambia. Let us work hand in hand to dismantle the barriers that hinder progress and create a society where every woman and girl can thrive and reach their full potential.

We must focus on enhancing educational opportunities for girls, ensuring access to affordable and quality healthcare, and promoting economic empowerment for women. Moreover, we must eradicate harmful gender norms and stereotypes, foster an environment where all individuals, regardless of gender, can pursue their dreams without fear of discrimination or prejudice. And, above all, we must amplify the voices of women and girls, to ensure that they have a seat at the decision-making table.

As government, we will continue to prioritize gender equality as a cornerstone of our development agenda. We will strengthen existing policies and introduce new measures to safeguard the rights of women and girls, encourage their active participation in all spheres of life, and empower them as agents of positive change in our society.

Distinguished viewers, ladies and gentlemen

We must endeavour to unleash the power of gender equality, uplift the voices of women and girls to unlock our nation’s infinite possibilities. With determination and unity, we can build a brighter and more inclusive future for The Gambia.

Happy 2023 World Population Day

Thank you all, and may God bless The Gambia.

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