Political Empowerment

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Introduction

The Dampha Foundation is an NGO which was founded in 2001. The NGO came about to fight against the violations of women’s rights in the rural areas. From 2003 to date, it has been the leading NGO in helping women to realize their potentials. We believe that investing in women fundamentally strengthens families and societies. Our Women's Empowerment Program develops women's leadership, strengthens women's organizations, increases women's rights and ensures their personal security, and creates new political and economic opportunities for women across The Gambia specifically the rural areas. Our current project plan is to uplift the women’s political power in Lamin Koto, C.R.R. this project will last for 5 years starting from 2012 to 2017.

The goals of the organization are:

➢ Promotion of women’s political rights as basis for democracy strengthening. ➢ Information dissemination,
➢ Creating a platform for civil solidarity expression and collective actions for women.

The objectives are:

➢ Attract attention and increase awareness of women’s political rights in the Lamin Koto village. ➢ Attract wide circles to support women’s forum.
➢ Assist to develop networks for cooperation between organizations for providing consolidated support to advance women to power positions. ➢ Assist to develop a positive image for women -leaders and advocate for women-leadership in local areas. Political rights are those rights by which citizens are given share in the political life of their community including that of the management of government. They generally consist of the following rights: right to vote, right to be elected, right to public offices, right to petition, right to criticize government, right to residence, right to protection while staying abroad, right to public meeting etc.

However, we (Dampha Foundation) define women empowerment as the means and ways of protecting and improving the rights of women in all aspects of life; being it social, economical and political rights. Women empowerment comprises of the following: Self-decision regarding education, mobility, economic independency, public speaking, awareness and exercise of rights, political participation and lot more. Women’s political empowerment provides the women with the voice to participate in the policies that affect their lives.

Poverty does not only mean insufficient income and material goods, but also lack of resources, opportunities, and security. Poverty is also about power: who wields it, and who does not, in public life and in the family. However, poverty is often seen as a regrettable but accidental condition, or as an inevitable consequence of decisions and events occurring elsewhere, or even as the sole responsibility of those who suffer from it. In looking at poverty four aspects need to be well looked into and they are: economic, social, political and psychological.

Linking Violation of Women Rights and Poverty

For the past centuries women’s political rights have been seriously violated because of the notion that women are objects of men. This believes has been existing since the time of colonial period in The Gambia. Here are some of the political violations of women’s rights in the rural area in The Gambia specifically Lamin Koto village:

Misrepresentation of women in decision making: in Lamin Koto village men represent their women and girl-child in decision making at the village level. This is done because of the common believe that women’s problems are well understood by their husbands or fathers. Looking at this issue, one can strongly see how their political rights are violated, because one’s problem can never be understood without him or her voicing it out.

Lack of women issues in village’s policies: women are not considered when formulating and implementing village policies. Among all the policies in the village there is none that empowered the rights of women, because of the...
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