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REFESA (Le Reseau des Femmes Saheliennes) is an organization of Sahellian women focusing on agriculture and drought control in the Sahel region. It was initiated by CILSS in 1997 to support the role of women in agriculture development and drought control through environmental protection and better management of resources. The objective of REFESA GAMBIA is to empower women in the development process at all levels: economic, political, cultural and institutional. The economic empowerment of women is globally recognized as a key factor towards reducing poverty, economic growth and food security.
REFESA is an educational non-profit organization and has up to 35,000 women involved in different associations promoting agriculture and other activities across the country, such as food processing, gardening, fisheries, tie and dye and ongoing capacity training.
Promote strategies encouraging sustainable development partners, innovative solutions including mobile technology, labour saving and efficiency enhancing technology and improving management practices.
Build partnerships between governments, NGO’s and development partners.
Support the implementation of the sustainable plan of action signed by the eight Sahellian region governments in Quagadougou in 1997.
Refesa participation in The National Woman Day celebration
On May30th 2014 REFESA, represented by 21 women leaders, took part in a National Women’s Day celebration in collaboration with over 460 women and girls from the different communities of the National Women’s Federation. The program was organized by the Women’s Bureau of The Gambia and was hosted by REFESA and other women’s groups in Brikama, in the West Coast Region of The Gambia.
The theme of the day was geared towards the empowerment of women for the benefit of the entire society, sustainable poverty reduction, human security, stability and food security. The campaign was also attended by international and local NGO’s, community based organizations, farmer associations, the Office of the Vice President, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, Minister for Women’s Affairs and Nutrition, and representatives of the First Lady, Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh who special duties include the Foundation for Women’s Socio-Economic Advancement (FOWSEA).
There was a colourful march past by The Gambia Police Band with over 400 women wearing white, holding banners relating to environmental cleanliness, the impact of climate change on food security, education of girls and an end to domestic violence against women.
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REFESA in May 27th and 28th
REFESA, on May 27th Consultative Conference in The Gambia. The event brought together over 300 farmers, community foresters, fish workers, food processors and traders in the cashew and groundnut sectors. Stakeholders including government departments, institutions and the UN attended. The occasion was also graced and given greater impetus by a representative from the Office of the President of The Gambia. and 28th 2014, participated in the second bi-annual National Farmers
Issues addressed included:
• Provision of suitable fertilizer, at affordable prices and accessible to the small scale farmer.
• Availability of basic farming tools.
• Capacity training for farmers and farming organizations on institutional building, training, study tours and advocacy.
• Training facilities in the area of value addition.
• Promotion of micro-credit schemes for small scale farmers.
• Government annual subventions to assist farmer organizations.
• Sensitization of farmers and community foresters on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy (ANR) of The Gambia.
• Provision of seeds and irrigation systems for year round cultivation of crops.
• Provision of transport facilities for communication and networking between members
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