PRESS RELEASE, OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
In 2006 an apex body of women’s groups from different socio-economic activities formed the
Gambia Women’s Federation to facilitate support and promote the economic empowerment of
women. This initiative was spearheaded by the former Executive Director of the Women’s Bureau,
Mrs. Ida Fye–Hydara.
Since its establishment, the Federation members are both urban and rural women engaged in Fashion
Design, Vegetable Production and Marketing, Fisheries, Professional groups such as the Private
Secretaries Association amongst other Small and Medium Women Entrepreneurs.
In her introduction, the Executive Director of the Women’s Bureau, Mrs. Binta Jammeh –Sidibeh
congratulated President Barrow for his election as well as the nomination on women in his cabinet
and in the National Assembly. She asserted that women played a critical role in the elections and
appreciated the support President Barrow accorded them.
The President of the Gambia Women’s Federation, Fatoumata Jah said they have five thousand
members countrywide. She elaborated on the projects they have embarked upon such the building of
a women’s market worth eight million Dalasis with a capacity of 600 shops. She highlighted some
of the challenges they faced to complete the construction of the market as planned. So far, a third of
the shops have been completed and allocated while the remaining two thirds is affected by price
inflation and the exchange rate of the dollar. Ms. Jah revealed the initiatives they started also
included a groundnut oil processing company, food and merchandise companies importing goods to
The Gambia. The Federation has also been supporting members through revolving fund from the
contributions of its members. She revealed that its plan includes opening regional markets in the
The Women’s Federation President asserted that the companies they initiated have been affected by
poor groundnut harvest, lack of cold storage facility for food products. Other constrains included the
incomplete market, lack of fencing, electricity and water supply. They also lack transportation to
reach out to its rural members.
Despite the challenges, Ms. Fatoumata Jah said the Federation member organizations are creating
employment and taking up their social responsibility to plough back to society.
One of the members, Ndey Awa Khan, informed the meeting that the Gambia Women’s Federation is
non-partisan and only groups can be members. She said the purpose is to ensure that proper support
is provided to empower women’s economic activities and promote light industries that will add value
to local products. Ndey Awa Khan further appealed for The Gambia to negotiate with the United
States government to bring back AGOA for them to reach out to the American market. She finally
called for Gambians to promote local designers by patronizing them.
The West Coast Region Coordinator of the Federation, Binta Sabally and Aji Mariama Secka alias
Aunty Yam Secka both paid tribute to the former Executive Director of the Women’s Bureau Ida
Fye-Hydara for her hard work and the initiatives she took to bring the best interest of Gambian
women to the fore. Aunty Yam further appealed for her consideration to be given to her plight.
The President of the Republic of the Gambia, H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow thanked all Gambians for
bringing about the change of government. He called on the women to reflect on the situation of the
country and the personality cult built around the former President Jammeh. Despite being perceived
as powerful, he was removed because the people came together and the women’s took a strong stand during that process.
President Barrow acknowledged the concerns of the Women’s Federation and encouraged them to be
patient. He cited his story as a businessman and that with determination there will be no limitation.
He said that his government inherited a bad economy and urged women to build confidence as well
as continue to strived harder. He promised them that his government will do their best to bring down
commodity prices, and added no development can take place without democracy.
In recognizing the critical role of women in governance and society, The Gambian leader
acknowledged the importance of gender representation and reminded them of the presences of strong
women’s rights activists in his government. He further acknowledged the role some of the activists
played in fighting for justice as well as defending the will of the Gambian people during the
transition. President Barrow asserted that the change was based on the principle of democracy to
provide a level field for all to participate, including women. He concluded that despite the
constraints, The Gambian has changed for good. The Gambian leader pledged that the government
will reviewed situation of the former Executive Director of the Women’s Bureau Ida Fye-Hydara.
He made a personal donation of D100,000 for Mrs. Fye-Hydara’s personal wellbeing.