By Aja Dahaba
The government of the Gambia in collaboration with partners launched an 8-Day Nationwide Caravan on Gender Responsive Security Sector Reform yesterday at Yundum Barracks in New Yundum.
This is intended to promote gender equality and equity among security personnel in terms of recruitment, postings, promotions, access to opportunities and any other benefits.
Officials said for a successful Security Sector Reform, it is imperative to mainstream gender. As part of the Security Sector Reform process, a three stage capacity building program was designed by ONS, in collaboration with UNDP and the IAGs on Gender Responsive Security Sector Reform.
This is to address gender gaps and to ensure that the existing nature of the security sector structures, culture, legal and policy frameworks, which are largely insensitive to the diverse needs of service men and women alike, are efficiently transformed. Two stages of the training have already been completed, which includes the basic and intermediate levels.
In his official launching statement and keynote address Momodou Badgie Security Adviser to the President underscored the importance of gender mainstreaming in the security sectors. He said if the intended caravan tour took off, it will facilitate to ensuring that gender mainstreaming in the security sector is link to the current security sector reform which is ongoing.
He added that gender mainstreaming is not only asking for participation or participatory only but giving equal opportunity which he believes is important and the SSR is saying opportunity and equality is what is needed in the security sectors and even beyond that.
Badgie challenged heads of institutions to nurture gender equality in all their activities, while challenging them to use the opportunity to draft their own strategy.
Brigadier General Mamat Cham Commander Gambia National Army dilated on the importance of security and development, noting they are inter-related as one cannot go without the other. He said security and development are key pillars factored in the National Development Plan.
The day long program also included panel discussions on gender mainstreaming and HIV/Aids in the security sector which was chaired by Fanta Bai Secka from Ministry of health and social welfare.
Presenters dilated on topics like justice in work place pertaining to gender equity and equality in the security sectors and to break the culture of silence in women as well as to promote 30% of women representation in decision making process.
The discussions were interactive as it give opportunity to participants to revealed their concerns and constrains they are facing in their work places especially women in terms of harassment. Solutions were given by various presenters as how to remedy such issues when one come across, and how women can take up responsibility to partake in decision making process.
Participants were drawn from seven security institutions, and civil society organizations.
The participants are expected to lead the gender mainstreaming processes in their various institutions, ranging from the establishment of gender units, to networking and capacity building on gender equality within their institutions.
The main activity which is the caravan, will take place later in June/July 2019)