Sunday, September 7, 2014

Development Forum to focus on women economic empowement

VP Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy
The office of the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia  in collaboration with partners including Community Based Organizations, Non-governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, public and private sector and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to organise a 'Development Forum'.

The 10th September 2014  forum to be held at the Kairaba Beach hotel outskirt of Banjul on the theme “Closing the Gender Gap-the Realities in The Gambia.

The focus area of the daylong forum will be on Economic Empowerment of Women and specifically on Women in Agriculture. Combined with wider audience participation, a group of key stakeholders will be engaged to jointly address the key aspects which would contribute towards the achievement of a more successful and vibrant agricultural sector most especially for women, according to a media release made available to Mansa Banko blog

The forum which is expected to gather more than two hundred participants across the length and breadth of the country will expose participants to key presentations on the respective topics: 1) Agriculture and women – overcoming bottlenecks; 2) Access to Finance and Entrepreneurship – Exploring innovative solutions? 3) Unpaid care work – its advantages and the unspoken consequences.

The forum will consist of an assessment of the key achievements, gaps and challenges faced by Women in Agriculture and how addressing these will translate to the attainment of greater gender equality and women empowerment economically.
The deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Honorable Fatou Mbye will be the chairperson of the the ceremony as well as to deliver the welcoming remarks. This will be followed by statements by Her Excellency, Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, United Nations Resident coordinator and the TANGO representative. Her Excellency the Vice President and Minister of Women Affairs, Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy will thereafter deliver the keynote statement and officially declare the 2014 Development Forum open. 

According to the release, the issue of gender inequality is one that has plagued societies for centuries. A plethora of international & national conferences, workshops, seminars, lectures, discussions and debates have been convened and policy-making bodies formed in order to address gender equality and the advancement of women. The culmination of which has been the creation of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) tasked with evaluating the progress on gender equality, identifying the challenges, setting global standards and formulating concrete policies to promote gender equality, and women’s empowerment worldwide. 

However, in order to bring about real change, there is a need to focus on issues affecting women both at national and local level; narrow down the subject matter to those that are of pressing concern in The Gambia and tackle them systematically. The forum seeks to create real dialogue between the beneficiaries and stakeholders so that practical, concrete, viable and sustainable solutions can be defined,” it indicated.

 “The agenda for this forum is one, which has both individual and national implications. The government’s aim for an agricultural sector, which contributes 26% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is to transform The Gambia into a major supplier of value added agricultural products and to ensure food self-sufficiency. 

The economic empowerment of women is at the heart of agricultural development in The Gambia. Over 50% of the population is made up of women; Gambian women constitute 78% of the economically active population involved in agriculture compared to just 57% of men; women are responsible for about 40% of the total agricultural production; women tend to be employed more in agriculture, the  informal sector enterprises and small agricultural household. 

However, their massive contribution does not translate into improved socio-economic status for them. This is why this forum discusses broadly agriculture and women and specifically focuses on women’s access to finance, skills and entrepreneurship development; and the unpaid work”.

The outcome of the agriculture and women presentation, according to the release, will be to outline whether the policies in agriculture reflect the voices of women and vulnerable smallholder farmers; whether the systems and technical capacities are adequate to translate the broad vision of the government to involve rural women into the development of agriculture and what is missing; and what has worked and what we can learn from it.

The Way Forward/Recommendations will be based on the issues discussed and key recommendations/solutions emanating from the discussions, a follow up action plan will be developed and a core team of five led by three champions will be identified to ensure its effective execution by stakeholders who have committed to providing a solution, organizations and ministries who are directly related and potential donors.

UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build better a life. It is on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners.

No comments: