GPA prioritises positive discrimination,as 3 women confirmed sailors
Friday, December 19, 2008
With a view to prioritise women empowerment, gender equality, as well as improve the capacities of its human resources base.
The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) has taken an important move by re-organising the crucial role that women can play in all sectors of national development. As a result, the country's main port is now creating more opportunities for women in all its operational units.
Daily Observer, on Wednesday afternoon visited the ferry terminals in Banjul and Barra to interview the women trainee ferry captains, their male colleagues, as well as the GPA administration responsible for the ferry services. Below are excerpts of the interview:
The Gambia Ports Authority is now gender sensitive
- Halifa Baboucarr Bah: director of Ferry Services
"The Gambia Ports Authority is now gender sensitive and has created a lot of training opportunities for its staff. This is evident by the number of engineers and sailors that the Ports Authority has been sending to Ghana and other countries for studies every year.
Among our policy, is to encourage women participation in national development.
Ten years ago, we had our first employed women sailor called Fatou Secka, but her father did not agree for her to take up the profession and she diverted her course and went to the medical field. She got a scholarship to study overseas and now she is a doctor at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) in Banjul.
We also have a programme with Vivian Chidid, the Senegalese Mbalax star called Operation to Promote Excellence in Sciences (OPES). The proceeds from this programme is what we need to sponsor our staff for overseas studies. We are also sponsoring schools like Armitage Senior Secondary School, St Augustine's Senior Secondary School and others.
Presently, we have three (3) women sailors/ ferry captains, namely; Fatou Colley commonly called Yamundow, Chilel Fatty and Fatou Jatta. They are all graduates of The Gambia Maritime Training Institute and we at GPA shall sponsor them to study at the Regional Maritime Academy in Ghana by January 2009."
Ebou Ndure, Senior Captain GPA Kanilai ferry:
said' We are training the women sailors. They used to load the ferry, take off or depart and we also show them the direction to use especially when there is low tide or high tide.
The few problems we face are mostly from the passengers and the vehicles especially during the Tobaski, Koriteh, Gamo and other national feasts. Our staff are doing well and I would advice them to keep up the momentum." I learnt about many issues regarding seamanship
- Fatou Colley alias Yamundow: a sailor
"I started training as a captain or a sailor in September 2007. I graduated from The Gambia Maritime Training Institute. While in the Institute, I learnt about many issues regarding seamanship, such as; survival and safety at sea, personnel safety, fire fighting, first aid, general seamanship, navigation among other issues. Presently I am here training with two other female colleagues namely, Chilel Fatty and Fatou Jatta.
I thank the senior captain and all those working with us here for the support and encouragement given to us." I would encourage women to try hard so as to do what men are doing in order to excel.
- Bakary Camara: Chief Engineer for the GPA Kanilai ferry "Our mandate as engineers is to ensure that the engine of the ferry is correct and can function very well because it is the mechanism that can move the ferry.
We do benefit from overseas studies packages as engineers because I was sponsored to study at the Regional Maritime Academy in Ghana in 2007 and many others also benefited. Finally I would encourage women to try hard so as to do what men are doing in order to excel.''
It is very much impressive to see women joining men in almost all sectors of development
Matarr S. Okafor: navigation cadet at GPA ferries "Well it is very much impressive to see women joining men in almost all sectors of development. Navigation is not an easy job but they are doing. Well and I think this is very impressive to see women joining men in almost all sectors of development.
Navigation is not an easy job but they are doing well and I think this is another achievement registered by the GPA in the promotion of women participation in national development. So, I encourage them to keep up the good move and also advice my colleagues to unite as one and work together for the benefit of the nation." He concluded
Author: by Assan Sallah