By Tabora Bojang
The UNDP resident representative and UN resident coordinator in the Gambia, Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje has hailed the Gambia’s commitment and efforts in putting tangible steps on policies and programmes geared towards ending discrimination and violence against women.
Speaking at the thirteenth cohort, graduation of 31 young entrepreneurs who completed two years skills development programme under the guidance of Fajara Skills Development centre, Madam Lekoetje said the Gambia has made enormous steps in bridging the gaps of inequality and deprivation between men and women in an age where discrimination of women especially young women is prevalent.
“In an era where we have seen a lot of discrimination against women especially young women and we have seen a nation that is taking concrete and right steps to make history. I think we shall all rejoice because we know that is the way forward and today we are witnessing part of that way,” Madam Lekoetje said.
“We have seen a lot of pro-women policies being passed, policies against FGM, the Women’s Act, ban on child marriage and a host of other programmes and activities to support women and young ladies.”
She urged the young entrepreneurs to take up ”those challenges and pro- women polices” to make good contributions to the socio-economic development of the country.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment Naffie Barry stressed the need for skills acquisition and training, especially for young women citing the significant roles they play in the development of the country.
She said her ministry is committed to the skills development of young Gambians by creating employment opportunities to Gambians, especially women as one of its mandates while urging the new graduates to tap the available opportunities to be job creators not seekers.
Bakary K Jammeh, the chairperson of the KMC steering management committee, said vocational and skills acquisition is line with the new Government’s National Development Plan 2018- 21, which according to him placed great emphasis on youth development through skills training.
Fajara Skills Centre, a sole proprietorship founded in 1992 focuses on programmes in cookery/Nnutrition, sewing/tailoring, hairdressing and therapy on young women and housewives to address the growing number of unemployment among the female population.
Since its inception, the centre has graduated over 1500 entrepreneurs most of whom are being gainfully employed in various sectors.