By Olimatou Coker
Stakeholders are calling for an end to what they called “rampant violation” of children’s rights in Gambia.
They said their protection from “abuse and exploitation” is not just the responsibility of the social welfare but every other Gambian.
Jakoba Jabbi, the director of the Department of Social Welfare, said: “Our department’s desire is to ensure that every Gambian child grows in a peaceful, healthy family.”
He was speaking during launching of the Together We Can Save Our Girls, an organisation formed to look into abuses confronting girls, and raise awareness of their difficulties.
Jabbi said girls can only be protected from violence and their welfare upheld when all and sundry speak up on their issues.
He said: “It is only through education, empowerment and protection of girls that we can change the mind-set of people to be positively involved in the agenda of gender equality and girls’ empowerment for sustainable development.”
Speaking further, Jabbi claimed children are being “excluded from essential services” and they “lack family and community protection”.
As such, he said it is the “collective responsibility” of all to ensure that every child enjoys a comfortable life.
“We are committed to continue providing support to temporary placement for abused children and those at risk of abuse, including abandoned babies, survivors of gender-based violence and those who cannot stay with their families for various reasons.”
The state counsel of the Ministry of Justice, Ella R Daigan, said “violations of children’s rights are rampant.”
“There is a need to fight against the menace,” she said.
The program officer of the Child Protection Alliance, Lamin Fatty, called for the active participation of the civil society in the fight to protect children.
“Young girls are being victimised on a daily basis at a very high rate. So there is need for renewed commitment and collaborative efforts to ensure that violence against young girls is brought to a stop,” Fatty said.
Together We Can Save Our Girls founder, Ousainatou Jallow, a US-based Gambian, said: “Our interest is to protect the wellbeing of children.”
The chairperson of Together We Can Save Our Girls, Ansumana Camara, said the organisation will provide rehabilitation for girls who have been “molested and abused” through capacity building initiatives.