Monday, June 17, 2024

ECOWAS Inaugurates Two Regional Committees

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By: Dawda Baldeh

A four-day regional meeting began in Banjul, organized by the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC) to inaugurate two regional committees responsible for examining and selecting projects submitted by ECOWAS member states for the implementation of the flagship programs of the EGDC, based in Dakar, Senegal.

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The meeting, scheduled from November 27th to December 1st, 2023, is expected to cover discussions with relevant stakeholders within the ECOWAS member countries.

The meeting brings together representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies, ECOWAS National Offices in The Gambia and Senegal, Civil Society Organizations working on education and entrepreneurship, and experts in the field of education and private sector operations.

The mandate of the two regional committees is to examine and select projects submitted for two flagship programs of the EGDC, respectively: (i) Program on Support to Brilliant but Needy Girls and Boys Specialized Technical and Vocational Education through the award of Scholarships of Excellence scholarships, and (ii) Program on Technical and Financial Support to Women engaged in the Processing of Agricultural, Marine and Handicraft Products in ECOWAS member states.

During the next four days, participants will validate project proposals submitted by beneficiary member states of the two programs for 2023.

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In his keynote address at the opening of the meeting, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Honorable Abdou Kolley, noted that the workshop demonstrated the political will and commitment of the ECOWAS Commission to promote women and girls’ empowerment in the ECOWAS region.

Mr. Kolley reminded participants that the ECOWAS region is currently characterized by widespread gender inequalities affecting access by women and girls to education, health, the labor market, and land resources, among other things.

These inequalities, he said, have serious repercussions on the effectiveness of international and regional commitments signed and ratified by ECOWAS member states.

Mr. Kolley further pointed out that, in a bid to improve the contribution of women towards regional integration and development efforts, ECOWAS has adopted policy frameworks and institutional mechanisms to ensure effective and efficient management of gender equality and empowerment programs in member states.

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He, therefore, called on participants to continue to facilitate women’s access to quality training and the provision of credit at low interest rates, as well as capacity-building programs in the area of entrepreneurship.

The address of the Director of the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, Mrs. Sandra Oulaté Fattoh, was read on her behalf by Mrs. Salimata Thiam, Principal Program Officer, Gender, of the EGDC.

On behalf of the Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr, Mrs. Oulaté expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the member states, ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies, CSOs, and experts for responding positively to the invitation to take part in the meeting. She outlined the objectives of the meeting and highlighted the rationale and mandate of the two committees that were going to be set up to examine the projects submitted by member states on the two flagship programs of the EGDC. She expressed the commitment of the EGDC to continue to work very closely with member states in the implementation of the Centre’s programs.

The ceremony was also attended by a representative of the ECOWAS National Office in the Gambia, Mrs. Ndeye Tabara Touray. The opening ceremony was chaired by Mrs. Salimata Thiam, Principal Program Officer, Gender, at the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre.

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