President of The Gambia and UNICEF The Gambia Country Representative discuss promotion and protection of children and women’s rights and investment in adolescent and children during their first bilateral meeting

H.E Adama Barrow and Ms. Nafisa Binte Shafique met at the State House on 18 March 2024.

20 March 2024
UNICEF The Gambia Country Representative meeting President of The Gambia.
UNICEF Gambia

Banjul, 18 March 2024 – The President of the Republic of The Gambia, H.E Adama Barrow and the UNICEF The Gambia Representative, Ms. Nafisa Binte Shafique discussed joint efforts in investment in children and adolescent development in The Gambia at their first bilateral meeting held at the State House in Banjul.

Ms. Shafique congratulated the President on receiving the 2024 African Peace Award and praised his government’s commitment to child rights, education and healthcare for children and adolescents in The Gambia. Ms. Shafique asked for the President’s intervention in ensuring that The Gambia’s CRC periodic report is submitted the soonest to Geneva for the next Universal Periodic Review session, as the report has already been cleared by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Justice of The Gambia.

Ms. Nafisa Binte Shafique urged the government to prioritize more investment in adolescent, children, and youth, as they represent half the Gambian population and hold incredible potential for the country’s development. She informed the President that the UNICEF Country Programme for children 2024-2028 puts great emphasis on empowering adolescents, especially adolescent girls with skills and knowledge to develop themselves and their communities. She added that UNICEF is willing to support the government in these areas as UNICEF’s Country Programme Document was developed in line with The Gambia’s National Development Plan.

Ms. Nafisa Binte Shafique also expressed UNICEF’s concern on the ongoing debates for the repeal of the law banning Female Genital Mutilation, which would be a significant step backwards in the country’s efforts to promote and protect the rights of women and girls. This would make The Gambia the first country in the world repealing such law, contrary to its international commitments to protect and promote the rights and wellbeing of women and girls and ensure they live in healthy conditions and would negatively impact the image of the country.

In response, H.E Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia, echoed Ms. Shafique’s words that investment in children and adolescents should be a priority, particularly on skills development and education.

“The best way to support our youthful population is to educate them, especially in gainful skills. This will create jobs for themselves and others’’ added the President. According to him, skills like 21st century skills will enable young people and adolescents to build themselves, their families, and their community to be successful. On the Female Genital Mutilation issue, the President assured UNICEF of his government’s commitment to protect women and children in The Gambia.

The President concluded by welcoming Ms. Binte Shafique to The Gambia and thanked UNICEF, through her, for its continued support to his government and to children in The Gambia, which yields dividend to the entire country. He assured her of his government’s continued support for UNICEF’s work in The Gambia and reiterated his government’s unwavering commitment and support to uphold child rights in The Gambia.

Media contacts

Monika Kacprzak
Communication Officer
UNICEF The Gambia
Tel: +220 3303087

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/gambia.

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