The Network against Gender-Based Violence was able to conduct a capacity building sensitization program on Gender-Based Violence and the women’s Act 2010 for the Local Government Authorities. The training program brought together twenty-five (25) participants comprised of Councilors and Administrative staff from Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council and Brikama Area Council. This activity is part of the Network’s mandate in their drive to bring about greater respect for the rights of women and girls and zero-tolerance for gender-based Therefore, the target beneficiaries to this event were strategically selected due to their role as duty bearers and are accounted for the welfare of women and girls.

The welcome ceremony was chaired by the Coordinator of the Network  Mrs Barrow, she gave  a brief background of the Network, explaining that the Network was set up in 2009 with seven (7) members, both government and civil society. This number has increased to over forty (40) members who are now part of the organization and working in the areas of gender and gender-based violence (GBV).

She emphasized that it was necessary to sensitize the local authorities, because of their crucial role as leaders and representatives of their various communities they should pass on the information to their various communities on: Gender –Based Violence and the Women’s Act 2010.The Coordinator explained that AATG is also funding the following Network programmes: - sensitization of MDFTs, the hotel workers, people with disabilities. She then called on the Women’s Program Manager.

The Vice Chairperson, Network on Gender-Based Violence (NGBV), Mrs Tabu Sarr, also welcomed and thanked participants for attending the workshop, speaking on behalf of the Chairman who was unavoidably absent. She highlighted that this workshop is part of a series of planned sensitization programmes on GBV. It is timely that local authorities are called to participate as they are the duty bearers and need to pass on the information in their daily work. She pointed out that we are all coming from homes where GBV takes place mostly and implored participants to be interactive, and discuss the issues and learn from each other. She also thanked Action Aid the Gambia (AAITG) for funding this workshop.

Delivering the opening remarks Ms Fanta Jatta Sowe thanked the Coordinator, the network vice chairperson, Mr Omar Fye, the Resource person and the participants for coming. She reiterated that the Network is a membership organization which Action Aid buys in.  Madam Sowe reminded participants that GBV cuts across all boundaries, and also occurs in all classes of society, at homes, workplaces and communities. She said everyone have a stake in GBV because you are perpetrator, victim, witnesses or survivor of GBV.  Mrs Jatta also stated that violence against women is the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights abuse in the world.  She explained that it creates profound health problems, saps a woman’s energy, compromises her physical health, and erodes her self-esteem. She said research has established that GBV exists in the Gambia as documented by the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and the Desk Review conducted by the Network.

Speaking on the need for sensitization on the Women’s Act 2010 she said it was not just a law but one which protects women specifically. Women, who are among the vulnerable group, have special needs and have to be protected by laws and policies which are specifically designed to protect them in society. She pointed out every man should stood against GBV since those  Women whose rights are violated are  the wives, sisters, mothers, daughters in the homes, communities and society at large. She went further to acknowledge that Women’s Act has incorporated innovative issues, for example, land rights, review of the confinement leave, property rights to name few. Fanta concluded by sharing a story of GBV she witnessed and how those who are obliged to protect failed in the name of culture. After sharing food for thoughts she declared the sensitization opened.

At this juncture participants were then asked to introduce themselves before going for tea break.

The first presenter Mr Sheikh Omar Fye, Senior Management Trainer and Head of Gender Unit, MDI presented on:  Gender and Gender-Based Violence: Definitions, Forms, Settings, Causes and Consequences. This session generated a lot of discussions especially types of GBV in particular FGM/C and wife battering. Some participants argue that those are religious obligations and strong tradition meant to discipline the wife respectively.
Below are the discussion points:

1.    Participant raised the question- why do we always raised concern about GBV      especially wife battering, according to him we should ask ourselves what triggers it, He said if women behave as expected they will not be battered.

2.    Responding to his comment one of the female participant said household heads should not use violent to correct they should used dialogue. While others felt that households has failed in ensuring and inculcate discipline at home. Let us go back and put discipline in our families and this would end GBV he concluded.

3.    Participant asked whether there were any figures and facts on GBV and how it has impacted on development efforts of the country.

Mr Sheikh Omar Fye responded that it is indicated in the  recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey(MICS) that GBV continues to occur in the communities however the magnitude and its impact on development in The Gambia is yet to be established.

Adding on what Mr Fye said the coordinator pointed out statistics are difficult to established on GBV in The Gambia at this moment, because of the silent syndrome of not reporting cases, It is not a reporting indicator at the health facilities. There is no national data based for GBV. The government institution responsible for Women Women’s Bureau are yet to established a data based were all the NGOS working in the area of GBV will be reporting.

The second presenter, Mr Fallu Sowe, Deputy Director, Social Welfare presented on : Working with survivors of GBV, Mr Sowe spooked about why the survivors need to be protected and some of the consequences that can occur this  In most cultures, traditional beliefs, norms and social institutions legitimize and therefore perpetuate violence against women. Mr Sowe highlighted that GBV survivors have specific needs, they are mostly traumatized and affected for the violence they were victims, and they need somebody who can understand their feelings, support and respect them. Without that they will not speak up an often blamed by society. In some circumstances GBV survivors has no choice to refuse or pursue other options without severe social, physical, or psychological consequences because it is inbuilt in our cultures, traditions and even in some instances our religion;

The presenter emphasized that confidentiality is key in working with survivors of GBV. GBV survivors are often ostracized by their communities, causing them to avoid treatment for fear of losing their jobs, their families, or their place in society. Therefore, maintaining confidentiality at all stages of treatment, counseling process, case work or investigation is crucial to encourage survivors to seek the assistance they need. He concluded by presenting a case study of a rape case who suffered from silence and blame after becoming pregnant. He also cited another case study of early and force marriage that ended of being neglected battered.
The last topic was the Women Act which was supposed to be presented by Female Lawyers Association’s President; she was unable to make it due to circumstances beyond her control. Mrs Fanta Jatta Sowe and the coordinator step in and made a presentation on the Women’s ACT using the power point presentation developed and presented by Lawyer Janet Sallah Njie during the sensitization of MDFT members.

The Participants told the presenter that they have never got the opportunity to see the women’s Act or know what it entails. Mrs Fanta Jatta Sowe therefore took her time to explain in detail. The participant asked why the maternity leave is up to six months this they said will affect institutions that send their staff on leave. Mrs Jatta Sowe explained that for any country to have sustainable development you need to develop the human base of its people, that being the case children need breast milk to have the require nutrient to develop their brains in-other for the country to produce Doctors ,engineers to name few. A participant commented that the 10 days paternity leave for the fathers was very inadequate, and should be extended.


Each participant was asked to write one thing he/she has learned see below:

Forms of gender based violence
Sexual harassment at family level
Gender Based Violence happens at family, community and National level
FGM/C has health implications and is a human right violation
Covering a rapist is a crime.
I learned that GBV is a public health problem and a preventable crime.
For the first time I have the opportunity to witness men and women discussing issues surrounding sex.

Sexual violence is a serious crime I learned that Wife battering is GBV


1.    NGBV to conduct sensitization in the rural areas, because of the lack of education, awareness and the culture of silence which is prevalent- all because of tradition and so- called religious beliefs.
2.    The workshop should be decentralized and the Network work with and through the ‘Alkalos’, ‘Sefolus’ and the women leaders.
3.    The members recommended the Network to provide them with copies of the Women’s Act.
4.    Empower the Councilors to conduct sensitizations on GBV at their various communities.

Closing remarks

Closing the workshop   Mr Dawda…Jones Public Relation Officer Banjul City Council also a participant expressed thanks on behalf of the entire group to the organizers of the programme which he said informed and enlightened them, of GBV especially its implication for the development of the country. The presentations were educative, interactive and each of them has learnt something. He vowed that they would go back to their communities and come up with programmes and activities that will further the fight against GBV.
He suggested the network design intervention activities that will lead towards the prevention, and the fight against GBV

The Coordinator thanked him and all for coming and wished them a safe journey home. The one day sensitization workshop ended with prayers at 16.35 pm.

List of participants
Program schedule

2018  Welcome to network against gender based voilence