Under the 2018-2019 UNESCO Participation Programme, the Women’s Bureau received funding to support the implementation of a project titled: “Inclusive Participation of Women and Youth in Local Governance in the Gambia”. Overall 72 participants were drawn from the capacity building training, with participants from ward councillors including women, youth and officers from Municipalities/Councils.
The project provided training activities for elected women and youth leaders at the grass roots level in a bid to strengthen their leadership capacities to ensure sustainable development initiatives in their communities. In addition to the training activities, sensitisation/advocacy campaigns were launched across all municipalities and local government areas with the view to engage leaders to mainstream women and youth empowerment and support in their municipal and local government council strategic plans, and promote women and youth led innovative initiatives. The capacity building workshops organised across all regions imbued positive collaboration between grass roots leaders and councils/municipalities.
During the monitoring and evaluation of the project activities it was found that the link between grass roots leaders and councils/municipalities was strengthened. Councils/municipalities are now committed to meeting the needs of their tax payers particularly women and youth. More so, Councils/municipalities are now ever prepared to support women and youth engagement through close consultation with their felt needs. The M&E exercise also revealed that Municipalities/Councils have now mainstreamed women and youth needs in their strategic plans.
Another important impact of the project was building further networks between local government councils (LGCs) in the Gambia and LGAs in Senegal. It was found that the LGC of Lower River Region had entered into partnership with another LGC in Senegal and the relations between the two has been fruitful as there has been exchange of good practices through women and youth entrepreneurship training.