This year’s Campaign theme, From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women! highlights the role that militarism plays in perpetuating violence against women and girls.
The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) funded PHIN Gambia's campaign, the campaign is taking place in Youna and its satellite villages- Mariam Kunda, Jamwelly, Sare Pateh, Labakoreh and Latriya.
Jawo Demba said that PHIN Gambia is a registered and charitable Organisation established in The Gambia in 2005.
Speaking at day long sensitization held at Youna village in West Coast Region on 25th November, 2012.
"Violence against women is still highly prevalent in The Gambian society, including domestic violence which includes forced marriage, child marriage, wife battering, incest, and female genital mutilation" said Michelle Jawo Demba.
These, she added have been perpetuated by poor self- perception by women because of poverty, low educational attainments, social and religious prejudices are unable to assert their rights, as well as power control.
According to her, PHIN has been engaged in gender sensitivity training, sexual and reproductive trainings and advocacy in various parts of The Gambia for over five years particularly in rural Gambia.
Since, 1991, each year , between November 25 and December 10, activists all over the world observe a 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based violence to create intense awarenesses of the connections between women, violence, and human rights, including The Gambia, said Isatou Dibba PHIN Gambia technical adviser and a recourse person for the sensitization training for the local communities.
She continued, in The Gambia, Pro-Hope international joins other organizations around the world to mark the period with series of programmes- radio talk shows, caravan show and communities sensitizations in west coast region adding that the 16 days activism is to raise awareness activities.
PHIN Gambia since its inception, has been working with grassroots communities, particularly women and youths to address the issues of gender based violence and behaviors that perpetuate violence against women.
According to her, Dibba, PHIN employs various strategies including dialogue with key stakeholders, education of women on their roles in the fight against gender- based violence including reproductive rights, gender sensitivity trainings for young people's security and law agencies and also on economic empowerment of women.
She disclosed that since 1991, each year , between November 25 and December 10, activists all over the world observe a 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based violence including PHIN Gambia to create intense awarenesses of the connections between women, violence, and human rights.
In The Gambia, PHIN Gambia joins other organizations around the world to mark the period with series of programmes- radio talk shows, caravan show and communities sensitizations in west coast region.
PHIN Gambia mission is a humanitarian non- governmental Organisation established to promote gender sensitivity and sexual and reproductive health rights of individuals and groups in The Gambia, enabling them to find fulfillment in life, she noted.
Radio talk shows- West Coast radio, Bwaim community radio, Kerewan community radio, Brikama community radio, sensitization on gender based violence. Yuna and its satellite villages- Mariam Kunda, Jamwelly, Sare Pateh, Labakoreh and Latriya.
Women groups, Yourh groups, men groups were engaged on commemorations. Of the 16 days gender activism on gender based violence against women.
she explained that the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign, participants chose the dates November 25- International Day Against Violence Against Women- and December 10- International Human Rights Day- in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.
This 16-day period, she went on also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by: raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels, strengthening local work around violence against women, and establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women.
The outcome of the sensitization, she said will providing a forum in which PHIN Gambia can develop and share new and effective strategies, demonstrating the solidarity of women around the country, organizing events against violence against women, and creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.
"Over 4,100 organizations in approximately 172 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991", noting that thousands of organizations including PHIN Gambia across the globe are demanding an end to violence in their communities as part of the 2012 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign.
Started on November 25, she said the 16 Days Campaign to call for an end to gender-based violence and appeal to governments to respond, protect, and prevent violence against women.
"We're doing the 16 days of activism against gender violence, minority women and girls violence, while making an appeal to governments to respond, protect, and prevent violence against women.
“Women from many local communities in the country especially girls are are frequently targeted and abused by their own relatives, ” says Dibba.
In our homes every day, "we are witnessing rape cases because girls are less protected and have little access to justice or to decision-making processes".
In many parts of rural Gambia, women from minority and indigenous communities have suffered systematic sexual and other violence specifically because of their ethnic, religious, tribal or indigenous identity.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign is a United Nations incentive, said Dibba, adding that the South African Government upholds the campaign but also includes issues relating to violence against children; therefore, South Africa holds the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign annually.
This campaign focuses primarily on generating an increased awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children.
What is the Purpose of the Campaign?
The purpose of the campaign, she said is to generate an increased level of awareness amongst South Africans relating to the incidence of violence against women and children, how it manifests itself within South African society and the negative impact on these vulnerable groups.
She called on perpetrators of these offenses to change their behaviour.
In addition, the campaign, is also geared to enhance and increase partnerships between government, the private sector, civil society, organised labour, sectoral groups, faith-based organisations, the media (electronic and print) and the diplomatic community in an effort to spread the message.
Therefore, during the campaign, PHIN Gambia will communicate through the most effective and appropriate channels aiming to reach the maximum number of people across the country, particularly women and children residing in rural areas, engage actively with men and boys in the discourse about combating violence in our homes, our communities and in the workplace and to highlight the stories of survivors of gender-based violence and child abuse, and the impact that the campaign has had on their lives.
Why is this campaign important, Dibba said the campaign will highlights the rights of women and children which is paramount and their rights are fundamental human rights entrenched in and protected by the Gambian Constitution.
"Gender-based and child violence, in all its different forms, devalues human dignity and the self-worth of the person and must be stopped in our society".