Call against poverty reinforced

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Stakeholders in the fight against poverty have called for reinforced efforts and commitment with realistic policies to ensure the eradication of poverty, the scourge which is ravaging hundreds of millions of people around the world.

This "call for action" was made at a poverty hearing session, last Saturday; and it was organised by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty - The Gambia (GCAP - Gambia), at a ceremony held at the President International Award centre in Bakau.

According to officials, poverty hearing is an advocacy strategy forum organised specifically to offer opportunities to people living in poverty to share their stories, and express their concerns about the scourge, and to celebrate achievements. The principle of the day, they indicated, is ownership, particularly for those who have been rendered powerless by chronic poverty and gross inequality.

Speaking at the occasion, Alhagie Kebbeh, chairperson of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, The Gambia chapter, said the movement is one of the world’s leading advocacy campaign networks which mobilises people, particularly the poor, to voice out their concerns and their feelings regarding their living conditions in relation to poverty.  Mr Kebbeh stressed the need for pro-poor policies, saying that poverty is one of the biggest injustices that a human being could be faced with.

"As we speak, eight hundred and fifty million (850m) people go to bed without food, daily. This is unacceptable as the world has more than enough to feed its inhabitants," he posited.

Mr Kebbeh, who is also the President of the Africa Youth Coalition Against Hunger (AYCAH), stressed the need for more consolidation, saying that stakeholders should double up on the campaign to improve the lives of the poor. He observed that the lack of social amenities in various settlements is one of the major factors amplifying poverty in these communities. While maintaining that GCAP-Gambia will continue with the fight, he called for concerted efforts to eradicate the menace.

Yadicon Njie Eribo, coordinator of Forum for African Women Education - Gambia (FAWEGAM), amplified the call further, saying that in Africa, women are the most vulnerable as they face challenges such as voicelessness in the society, illiteracy, malnutrition, and ill health. "Poverty causes women to be deprived of their social right to education. It is an indisputable fact that women, being subjected to illiteracy, contribute immensely to development," she said, emphasizing the need for them to be empowered in reducing the trend of poverty.

According to her, many people are unhealthy as a result of the effect of abject poverty, adding that the kind of food consumed in most poor homes is sometimes poor.  The result of this, she said, is the shortening of lives span.

The FAWEGAM coordinator then challenged women to take up responsibility in ensuring that their children, especially the girl child, stick to their education.  This, she concluded, will go a long way in alleviating poverty.

Author: by Hatab Fadera