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  • Writer's pictureAfrican Women Leaders Network

PRESS RELEASE


Positioning women’s voices & aspirations in development priorities: African Women Leaders Network's Solidarity Mission to The Gambia

AWLN delegation led by H.E Mme Bineta Diop, AU Special Envoy, Women, Peace and Security, AWLN Co-convened and H.E Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the AU to the UN, representing the AWLN GoFs in NY, pay a courtesy call to H.E. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia as part of AWLN Solidarity Mission to The Gambia.


To support Gambia’s efforts to centre women in economic empowerment initiatives and ensure that their voices and realities are included in programmes and policies, as well as in leadership and decision making, the African Women Leaders Network’s (AWLN) and Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends, Germany and South Africa, embarked on a solidarity mission to the Republic of The Gambia on the theme: “Supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment and Financial Inclusion for Enhanced Leadership.” The mission was conducted by AWLN Co-Convener, H.E. Mme. Bineta Diop, the African Union (AU) Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security; H.E. Qwabe Bongiwe, Ambassador of South Africa to The Gambia and Senegal; H.E. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Representative of the AU to the United Nations (UN); with the participation of H.E. Ms. Katja Keul, Minister of State of the Federal Republic of Germany. The solidarity mission aimed at mobilising commitments from the Government of The Gambia and development actors, to invest in the economic advancement and financial inclusion of women and bring visibility to the significant roles of women in driving change and advancing the country’s development aspirations.

Addressing the delegation during their courtesy visit to the President of the Republic of The Gambia, H.E. Adama Barrow, recognised the immense contributions of women leaders in advancing Gambia’s development endeavours. President Barrow reiterated his government’s commitment to positioning women’s voices and aspirations in national development priorities. “We remain committed to supporting efforts to advance women’s economic empowerment and leadership by strengthening our support to the Women Enterprise Fund. My government and I are prepared to support the newly established AWLN Gambia Chapter, in the realisation of its strategic objectives” he highlighted. During the courtesy visit, the President was presented with the AWLN Champion’s Award, making him part of the circle of champions, joining other Heads of State and Government.

As part of the engagements of the mission, the AWLN Gambia Chapter was launched on 16 May 2023, marking the 33rd national chapter on the continent. The launch ceremony was graced by H.E. the First Lady of The Gambia, Dr. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, ministers, heads of government institutions, and representatives of development organisations and civil society.

The AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, H.E. Mme Bineta Diop speaking at the AWLN Gambia Chapter launch, congratulated the Government of The Gambia on the establishment of a Gender Ministry, a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to lead the charge for women’s inclusion and participation in leadership. “Research has demonstrated that where women are represented in government, there is more investment in social protection. Peace agreements are also more impactful and last longer where women are represented, while women’s leadership in the private sector, leads to better business performance” she highlighted.

The launch ceremony was also addressed by H.E. Katja Keul, Minister of State of the Federal Republic of Germany, main funder of AWLN, H.E. Qwabe Bongiwe, Ambassador of South Africa to the Republic of The Gambia and Senegal and H.E. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Representative of the AU to the United Nations (UN), both representing the AWLN Group of Friends in NY; H.E. Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, former Vice President of The Gambia; H.E. Dr. Isatou Touray, former Vice President of The Gambia; Honourable Dr. Fatou Diané Gueye, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Family and Child Protection of the Republic of Senegal; Honourable Fatou Kinteh, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare of The Gambia; and Mrs. Elena Ruiz Abril, representative of the UN Women Regional Office for West and Central Africa.

The mission also engaged the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara. Minister Tangara was commended for his crucial role in facilitating the launch of the AWLN Gambia Chapter. He was also recognised for his continued work through his office, to uplift and create opportunities for women to thrive.

As part of its engagements in The Gambia, the mission also joined H.E. Katja Keul, Minister of State of the Federal Republic of Germany, at the inauguration of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in The Gambia. H.E. Mme Bineta Diop used the occasion to extend AWLN’s appreciation for the support of the Federal Republic of Germany since 2017. She highlighted that Germany’s continued support to efforts to empower African women leaders is worthy of emulation and called on representatives of diplomatic missions in attendance, to follow Germany’s footsteps and be allies of AWLN in promoting women’s empowerment and leadership. The just launched AWLN Gambia Chapter and German Embassy in The Gambia, “set the stage for continued collaboration between Germany and AWLN, by creating an opportunity for increased investments in the empowerment of Gambian women” H.E. Minister Keul highlighted.



AWLN delegation with women at the grassroots in Bwiam Foni Kansala, West Coast Region, The Gambia


In line with AWLN’s strategic pillar on economic empowerment and financial inclusion, the mission conducted a field visit to the Foni Berefet and Foni Kansala Districts in the West Coast Region of Gambia. The first engagement was at the Nobo Bantang Women’s Garden in Foni Berefet, where the delegation was pleased to note the multi-faceted approach utilised by the community to create a source of livelihoods for themselves, while also involving teachers and students to create an avenue to complement the government-provided School Improvement Grant (SIG), thus contributing towards school fees for students and the implementation of the school feeding programme. The systems put in place at the Nobo Bantang Women’s Garden demonstrates the innovative, community-driven and solutions-oriented spirit of women, when given the opportunity to access and control resources in their communities. The Nobo Bantang Women’s Garden is a current beneficiary of the Women Enterprise Fund facilitated by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare of Gambia.

The remarkable work of the women of Foni Kansala was also showcased at a community engagement in Bwiam, to officially wrap up the solidarity mission to The Gambia. At this gathering, the delegation was pleased to learn of various initiatives led by women in the district, to promote economic empowerment, inclusive participation in leadership and peace and security. One of such innovative initiatives is the creation of a joint community garden by the women of Dasilami and Touba Trankil, two border communities that have previously had longstanding land-related disputes. The garden is now a tool for fostering peace and social cohesion between the two communities. A key takeaway from the community engagements is that, the women of Foni have transformed community challenges to opportunities to advance their political and socio-economic status and contribute to processes to strengthen peace and social cohesion in The Gambia.

The solidarity mission ended on a high note with the delegation reminded of the Government of The Gambia’s commitment to prioritise women’s economic empowerment, inclusion in leadership and peace and security processes.

For further information please contact:

Ms. Fatou Sombie | Policy Adviser and Coordinator of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) | Email: awlnetwork2017@gmail.com | www.awlnet.org



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