Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of Women and Girls in The Gambia: Advocacy and Rights Education Towards 2030 and 2063 Goals
In pursuit of advancing the sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) of women and girls in The Gambia, a comprehensive three-day initiative was spearheaded by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) in collaboration with GAMCOTRAP. This transformative endeavor unfolded across the Central River Region (CRR) and North Bank Region (NBR), with focal points in Wassu, Farafenne, and Jarra Soma. Under the overarching theme of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the initiative aimed to promote SRHR through advocacy and rights education, aligning with the visionary goals set for 2030 and 2063.
The program comprised a series of meticulously planned activities, each designed to address specific aspects of SRHR and empower participants with knowledge and skills essential for promoting gender equality. Central to the initiative was the engagement of diverse stakeholders, including women leaders, community representatives, religious figures, and young girls, ensuring a holistic approach to addressing prevailing challenges and fostering sustainable change.
One of the core activities focused on sensitizing women and girls about their SRHR and enhancing their understanding of existing legal frameworks safeguarding their rights. Amidst ongoing debates surrounding the potential repeal of the Anti-FGM law, participants were empowered with information on their rights and encouraged to challenge harmful traditional practices. The resounding support from Chiefs, Religious Leaders, and Community Leaders underscored a collective commitment to upholding women’s rights and safeguarding the well-being of future generations.

Another pivotal aspect of the initiative was the training of Community Based Facilitators (CBFs) tasked with driving change at the grassroots level. Through comprehensive sessions led by the Executive Director, CBFs were equipped with the necessary tools to combat harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Emphasizing the non-religious nature of FGM and dispelling misconceptions, CBFs were empowered to advocate for the elimination of this deeply entrenched practice. Their role in promoting rights education and fostering community engagement heralds a promising trajectory towards achieving the envisioned goals for 2030 and 2063.

The participatory nature of the program facilitated meaningful dialogue and knowledge sharing among participants, creating an inclusive environment conducive to collective action. Each activity commenced with a pre-test to assess participants’ baseline knowledge, enabling tailored interventions and informed decision-making. Through collaborative efforts, participants reaffirmed their commitment to advancing SRHR and combating gender-based discrimination, laying the foundation for transformative change within their communities.

In conclusion, the initiative spearheaded by CFLI and GAMCOTRAP represents a significant milestone in the ongoing quest to promote SRHR and empower women and girls in The Gambia. Through advocacy and rights education, participants were equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to challenge systemic barriers and effect positive change within their communities. As we look towards the future, the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders serve as a beacon of hope, guiding us towards a more inclusive and equitable society envisioned for 2030 and 2063.

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