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NPCS convenes national dialogue on SGBV

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By Aminata S Kuyateh

The National Population Commission Secretariat over the weekend convened a national dialogue on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) at Bakadaji hotel in Kotu.

The two days national dialogue brought together parliamentarians on population and development, religious and traditional leaders on population and development to discuss strategies and solutions.

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The event saw participation from government officials, civil society organizations and international partners aimed to address and devise actionable solutions to combat the pervasive issue of GBV in The Gambia.

The dialogue aims to enhance their understanding of gender-based violence issues, the legal frameworks, and policies concerning adolescent girls and young women. Also to equip the participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively make decisions on GBV issues involving adolescent girls and young women in the country.

The director of population affairs at NPCS, Mariama Fanneh, noted the presence of the participants signifying a shared commitment to address issues of girls and women in our  country. “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal problem that affects every one of us. It also undermines our social fabric and hampers our development. Today’s dialogue is a testament of our collective resolve to end scourge, ” Fanneh stated.

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Permanent secretary OVP, Kawsu Fadera, underscored the government’s commitment to eradicating gender-based violence, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts.

Mr Fadera stated that the Gambia Demographic and Household Survey (GDHS) reveals the prevalence of physical violence against women aged 15 and above has risen from 41% in 2013 to 46% in 2020.

“This increase is particularly pronounced in rural areas, where the prevalence rate (47%) is higher than in urban areas (45%). Furthermore, working women (49%) appear to be more susceptible to physical violence compared to non-working women (41%), suggesting a potential issue with abuse within various employment sectors” PS Federa.

In his closing, Federa emphasized the importance of sustained efforts and the need for every sector of the society to play its part. The fight against GBV requires a collective effort, it is not just the responsibility of the government but of every Gambia, “Today, we can create a safe and equitable society for all”.

Hon Gibi Mballow said GBV is a pervasive violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of women and girls. It stifles their potential, shatters their dreams and poses significant barriers to our nation’s social, economic and human development.

“The fight against these harmful practices transcends being a mere social issue, it is a matter of national and global urgency. Gender-based violence in particular FGM and child marriage are egregious practice that inflict irreversible harm undermined the health, well-being and education of our girls and young women”, Hon Mballow stressed.

He urged the participants to engage in candid, informed and solution-oriented discussion. “However, this dialogue is not just a two-day event, but it marks the beginning of a sustained and collective effort to eradicate gender-based violence in all its forms.”

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