The Girl’s Agenda and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Madrassa Engagement Project on Gender-Based Violence last week commenced at the Regional Education Directorate in Brikama.
The four-day event was held on the theme “Breaking silence on gender-based violence in often marginalised institutions”. The event, which is the second phase of the training, attracted 200 participants from Madrassa and Quranic schools in the West Coast Region.
The latest development was spurred by the fact that young people going to these schools are often not included in most educational initiatives.
At the occasion, Oumie Sissoho, Programme Coordinator of Girl’s Agenda, noted that the primary reason for the isolation of Madrassas is because of the difference in the curricular and areas of subject concern.
The activity, she said, is a capacity building and advocacy engagement activity not only to inform the participants about gender-based violence, but to break a culture of silence and fear of intervention in secluded institutions.
Sissoho urged participants to participate fully and remind one another about their roles in national development, saying “together we can make a positive change in our societies”.
Fatou Kinteh, National Programme officer of UNFPA said her office focuses on advocating for human rights, youth empowerment and education to stop violence in all aspects.
She opined that issues such as comprehensive sexual education, Female Genital Mutilation, early and forced marriages, participation of women in decision-making with regard to family planning and other governance matters, are critical issues that should be given much regard.
“We believe that eradicating gender-based violence in The Gambia is a collective responsibility. Young people deserve to be engaged, to protect and empower them not to be perpetrators, but to add their voices against discrimination of all forms.”
The Programme Manager of the National Youth Council (NYC) Alhagie Jarju challenged the students to make good use of this opportunity and serve as ambassadors.
by Saffiatou Colley