Rural Women’s Day and World Food Days, organised with the FAO national office, Ministry of Agriculture were commemorated on the 15th and 16th October 2010 and attracted over 300 women, development partners, civil society organisations, regional governors, district chiefs and other local government authorities.
The women marched to the music of the regional scout band, holding placards with different messages on them.
Although the occasions were festive, there were some serious reflections on hunger.
The day was also used to launch ActionAid’s HungerFREE scorecard which ranks The Gambia 24th out of 28 developing countries, in their progress towards meeting MDG1 hunger targets.
The Permanent Secretary at the Agriculture ministry launched the scorecard on behalf of the deputy minister and called for joint and healthy partnership particularly with FAO, WFP, ActionAid and The Gambia government to address food insecurity.
The Executive Director of ActionAid International The Gambia, Dr. Kujejatou Manneh called for reflection and a recount of the challenges faced over the years.
To the accompaniment of music from traditional singers and the scout band, the women farmers loudly blew their yellow whistles signifying that hunger is unwanted and there must be an end to it. This earned them a big round of applause from the audience.
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, IDEP was also observed by the women farmers on 17th October. In observing the day, prayers were offered and The Gambia national anthem sung by all present.
The celebrations marking Rural Women’s Day and World Food Days were carried live on national radio, GRTS. It was also covered by national television and all the major papers in the country.