This call was made during a two-day training for 30 women community leaders from Banjul and Kanifing Municipality who serve as community paralegals at the Paradise Suites Hotel. The British Embassy funded the training.
Speaking, Binta Sidibeh, the executive director of Women’s Bureau said community paralegals are important in the society, and the bureau was pleased that FLAG came up with such an initiative. She stated that since her ascension to the office of the executive director of the bureau, they have been receiving many complaints from women, which warranted the setting up of a complaints committee.
“So the training exercise is vital and would help my office a lot. I want to call on FLAG to translate the working manuals into local languages, to help the women in transmitting the information to others who are not opportune to be part of the training activity. Everyone selected should take the training course seriously, since you are representing women in your communities. Access to justice continues to be a problem, and justice is fundamental in the rule of law. Paralegal [officer] should be ready to negotiate and are expected to live and work within the communities they serve.”
For his part, Colin Crorkin, the British Ambassador to The Gambia said they have been working with FLAG, and they are grateful for the partnership. He stated that access to justice is often taken for granted, and access to lawyers could be difficult as well as the costs. He said training women leaders as paralegals would really help people in the communities.
Neneh Cham, FLAG president highlighted the modules that were covered during the training course including ; the role of a paralegal, law and society, human rights protection (including women’s human rights and children’s rights), family law, gender-based violence, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism, land rights, law and the administration of justice. She said it was a fact that women face numerous problems in the society, communities, and homes in particular.
“It was also a fact that 100 per cent of all lawyers, including FLAG members live and practise in the Greater Banjul Area, and given the fact that many are faced with legal problems could not afford the services of lawyers. Hence, the realisation that as a short-term measure, they needed to build the capacity of women community leaders, to equip them with basic knowledge of the law and their rights, as well as the issues that affect them.”]]>