On 5 and 6 October 2019, the group of Gambian women mayors and local elected representatives chaired by Mrs Rohey Lowe, Mayor of Banjul Municipality, in partnership with UCLG Africa and UNDP, launched the Gambian National Chapter of REFELA (the network of Locally Elected Women in Africa).
The Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Lowe presided over the official launching at the Atlantic Hotel of Banjul. This launch was technically supported by the REFELA secretariat and the Network’s presidency, with the REFELA focal point, the Mayor of Banjul.
Mayor Lowe said the launch will mark a turning point in the aspiration of Gambian women in all areas of development. She explained that REFELA is the standing committee on gender equality of UCLG Africa. In accordance with REFELA’s Rules of Procedure, the new Gambian national chapter will be the Gender Commission of the National Association of Gambian Local Authorities.
She further disclosed that the campaign to better the lives of women as advocated by REFELA took a very positive turn through her election as the first woman Mayor of the Capital City of Banjul.
“But the situation is more challenging for rural women whose active participation in governance especially in Local Government has been largely absent. And if the current situation remains unchecked the status of women with respect to active participation in electoral process and governance will only get worse,” she warned.
According to Mayor Lowe, women constitute far more than half of the population and they also constitute about 54% of all registered voters, yet they lack representation despite forming the majority.
“Even though women are known to be loyal supporters and form the base of their political parties, they are still grossly under-represented in the hierarchy of their own parties and in other elective offices in the country“.
“As mentioned in the Roadmap, all of the Sustainable Development Goals have targets directly related to the responsibilities of local and regional governments,” she disclosed.
Mayor Lowe called on women to be committed to the goals set by 2030 for Gambian women to reach remarkable heights in the political and economic development of the country.
The Gambian chapter of REFELA is already engage in the mains REFELA Campaigns :
Ø The Campaign for African Cities without Street Children ( Watch video of REFELA Gambia)
Ø The Campaign for African Cities’ Zero Tolerance to Violence Against Women and Girls (Watch video of REFELA Gambia )
Ø The Campaign for African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment
The launching of the Gambian chapter of REFELA, follow the dynamique impulse by REFELA after the last Africities8 Summit, held in November 2018 in Marrakech (Morocco). On June 2019, another national chapter of REFELA was launch in Namibia, followed by the launch of REFELA chapter of Eswatini (Ex Swaziland).
Watch the resume of the lauching ceremony fo REFELA Namibia.