The local trainer who doubles as coach for 20 women who just completed six months’ leadership training in politics argues that women in The Gambia deserve more leadership roles in politics than just cheer leaders and mobilizers.
Gender law lecturer and national coordinator of Think Young Women Musu Bakoto Sawo lamented the situation of women in politics in The Gambia at a ceremony where these participants were awarded certificates of completion by Westminster Foundation for Democracy in partnership with the Community of Democracies.
The two organisations rolled out both online and physical sessions for participating women since September 2020. The training was aimed at building leadership, advocacy and communication skills as well as self-esteem building skills of these 20 women from various political parties including female university students. They participated in two workshops and follow-up coaching sessions in which they developed individual projects.
The training “positively impacted” Ms Fatoumata Camara, a university student and participant in the training, especially towards her political ambitions.
“I have learnt the skills of advocacy and have improved on my communication skills. Now I will be able to develop messages for my campaign and set positive campaign strategies to win. I wish we have more training like this in the future for young female politicians who have political ambitions but lack the necessary set of skills to progress,” she said.
Local trainer, Ms Saho said the reason why women are lacking behind in politics is because of socio-cultural dynamic issues around education and more other things. That situation ought to change, she maintained.
“Women are seen and used for the most part in politics as mobilisers. It is important to demand for recognition within the party to become a leader of the party. Constantly developing on oneself is a great achievement,” she advised them as they received certificates and ready for the journey ahead.
For another participant, Fatoumatta Dahaba, it was the first time to undergo political training. ”This training has lifted me to another stage with realistic and more meaningful goals,” she said, noting that it through the coaching her doubts and questions have been answered and replaced with achievable ideas.
“The project is unprecedented in the country and came at an opportune time when the country is transitioning from authoritarian rule to democracy, with lot of emphasis on women’s political participation and representation,” Country Representative for WFD Gambia, Mr Madi Jobarteh explained.