Thursday, April 7, 2011
Network of Young Female Leaders, Extraordinary Visionary Feat
Says VP Njie Saidy as she launches the network
NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB) The Gambian Network of Young Female Leaders of West Africa was officially launched by Her Excellency Dr. Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Banjul 2nd April 2011, becoming the third network to be launched after Guinea Conakry and Senegal.
Facilitated by the Dakar-based ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC) in Senegal, is geared towards the assuming of leadership roles by young females in West Africa, both politically and in the socio- economic development of the sub-regional economic bloc, ECOWAS.
At the official launching, Dr. Njie-Saidy said that the launching of the network cannot be over emphasized citing the significant role played by young people in the country, Africa and the world at large
VP Njie Saidy noted that from the national and international perspectives, young people and women are the focus of attention and to identify young African women leaders and hardness their energies and intellectual leadership potential, by forming them into a regional network is not only laudable but an extraordinary visionary feat.
According to her, the launching of the network, is taking at a time when so much is happening at the international arena to facilitate women’s social, economic, political and cultural empowerment.
“I congratulate the EGDC for this initiative but also you the young women leaders for agreeing to come together, to use your talents, skills, competencies and energies to work for the good of your countries and the region as a whole,” she noted.
Gambian no.2 further express her appreciation too the director of the EGDC and her staff and their local counterparts .i.e. Women’s Bureau under her office, and the national chapter of the network.
According to her, The Gambia subscribes to this global agenda as evident in the number of international and regional instruments that the country is signatory to adding that beyond signing and ratifying these instruments international instruments, The Gambia, she went on, has gone further by domesticating these instruments into national legislations that guarantees and protects these rights and by developing policies that ensure the implementation of these laws.
Some of these laws, she added, conventions and protocols include the convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 1997 and the Beijing Platform for Action, amongst others.
“Recognising the critical role the youth have to play in the socio economic development of the country, the government has put in place several mechanisms that are designed to address the issue of youth,” citing the National Youth Policy 2009-2018 which she alluded is a blueprint for Gambian youth meant to engage them in a serious manner into national development and seeks to empower youth through participation and mentoring.
The policy framework for the National Youth Policy harmonizes the different interventions and provides a more concerted strategy on youth issues noting that the policy will in turn ensure that all actors understand youth issues and work toward a common approach,
She continued, in recognition of the enormous potential of youth who form the largest portion of The Gambia population and cognizant too that our development objectives will not be attained if the youths are left behind. The government of The Gambia supported by its development partners has made huge investments in youths and in particular young women.
Madam Njie Saidy was quick to say that despite all these efforts made by the government, there are still some challenges facing youths and women empowerment and needs to be addressed both from the perspective of youth and women empowerment.
She the cited lack of equality between women and men and discrimination against women impede the progress in development, peace and security, and also the realization of human rights.
Madam Aminatta Dibba, director of EGDC depict the launching of the network in The Gambia as timely and relevant for reasons characterized by several years of struggle to get women emerge as leaders.
According to her, the formation of the Network is most encouraging saying that it shows that young West African women are determined to forge ahead and correct the imbalance between men and women in the decision making processes.
She gave assurance that the ECOWAS Gender Centre will continue to support the network to consolidate its structures and effectively exercise its mandate but was quick to say that the Gender Centre cannot achieve this alone but with other parties.
Madam Dibba mentioned that by brining together the young female leaders in The Gambia, the would be able to witness on a first hand basis the youth- friendly and female- friendly environment that ‘happily’ exist in the country adding that the ECOWAS Gender Centre believes in sharing best practices.
She further remarked that the ECOWAS Gender Centre is indeed proud to be associated with the launching of the network, while congratulating the network and all young women of ECOWAS Member States.