Campaigners, Lawmakers Push For A More Inclusive Approach In Policies Targeting Vulnerable Groups

By Abdoulie John

In wake of massive consultations on the country’s  draft Constitution, the critical issue about the inclusion of youth, women and people with disabilities, topped the agenda of a two-day workshop held at the NaNa Conference in Bakau. The seminar that ended Saturday adopted a resolution calling for an inclusive approach in the formulation of policies targeting youths, women and people with disabilities.

“Involving young people, women and nearly 10,000 people living with disabilities is very important for their inclusion in all aspects of life,” Majority Leader and NAM for Kombo South Kebba K. Barrow said in his opening remarks during the seminar for legislators, and which was centred on Inclusion, Participation and Representation in of Women, Youth, and People with disabilities (PWDs).

As part of its advocacy efforts, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy is making big push with the view to highlighting and reinforcing the issue of inclusion, participation and representation in the country. The initiative is expected to narrow widening disparities that have left these groups on the sidelines without having any possibility to take part in the formulation of policies affecting them.

The Majority Leader expressed proudness for being associated in an initiative geared towards enhancing the ongoing democratisation process.

“This workshop is very timely and we want to urge all partners in development to ensure that they include these vulnerable groups in all activities and programs,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Permanent Secretary Rohey Bittaye disclosed disturbing statistics revealing that women are yet to gain ground vis-à-vis to the opposite sex.

Weighing in on the participation of women in politics, she pointed out that everyone has the right to vote and to be voted for. But she was quick to highlight the multiple barriers women continue to be confronted with as they are edging towards political emancipation.

In The Gambia, she went on, women constitute 58% of voters in an attempt to indicate that the figures are far from being translated into reality.

She then highlighted figures that show that women continue to be marginalised from the political sphere while calling for more women to be given a chance to participate in electoral competition.

In a similar vein, the Chairperson of the Gambia Federation of the Disabled, Muhammed Krubally, lauded the initiative taken by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) to scaling up efforts aimed at driving disability inclusion in the country’s development process.

“Disability is not a characteristic that defines a person,” said the visually impaired legal luminary.

He seized the opportunity to speak up for disabled people, calling for the creation of equal opportunity that would allow them to succeed.

In wake of the new democratic dispensation, the WFD Country Rep. Madi Jobarteh said there is an urgent for more participation and representation of vulnerable groups.

Taking into consideration that National Assembly is where the destiny of the country is decided, Madi Jobarteh made it clear that lawmakers have a crucial role to play in this process. He then added they should make sure that we have necessary policies.

Consequently, he cited the adoption of a resolution at the end of their two-day deliberations, emphasizing that it could serve as an action plan for major stakeholders.


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