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According to the 2019-20 Demographic and Health Survey, 9% of women between ages 15 to 49 in The Gambia have ever experience sexual violence, while almost 40% of ever-married women have been subjected to either physical, sexual or emotional violence by their current or most recent partners. The survey further found that about 51% of women and 35% of men in The Gambia agree that wife battering is acceptable if a wife: burns the food; argues with her husband; goes out without telling her husband; neglects the children; or refuses to have sexual relations with her husband.

These figures paint a clear picture of the prevalence and normalisation of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Gambian communities and emphasise the urgent need to enhance GBV prevention and response efforts, so as to protect the fundamental human rights of all especially women and girls who are the most affected.

As such, UNFPA has been working with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Health and Civil Society Organisations to improve the existing GBV response structures and ensure that information about GBV and care services to support survivors are available and accessible. The agency has been investing in strengthening the existing mechanism, including supporting the establishment of a National GBV Helpline 1313, construction and renovation of One-Stop Centres in major health facilities across the country, among others.

As part of these investments, Her Excellency the First lady of The Gambia Madam Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow on Tuesday 22 June 2021 joined the Minsiter for Gender, Children and Social Welfare, UNFPA Country Representative and other dignitaries at the inauguration of the Gambia Women Empowerment Centre dubbed the “Orange Centre”. Supported by UNFPA with funding from the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund, the centre is the Country’s first fully integrated facility for the protection of women and girls.

Delivering the inaugural statement, Her Excellency the First Lady highlighted that ending Gender-Based Violence is a shared sacred responsibility of all.

“Gender-Based Violence has far-reaching and devastating consequences on individuals against whom it is perpetrated and the socio-economic development of nations.” - First Lady of The Gambia, H.E. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow

According to UNFPA The Gambia Representative Mr. Kunle Adeniyi, the establishment of the Orange Centre is the culmination of critical partnerships and the result of combined effort from various end GBV stakeholders in the country.

"In order to attain sustainable development and realise gender equality, we must individually contribute towards ending Gender-Based Violence in The Gambia" – Mr. Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA The Gambia Representative

On her part the Honourable Minister for Gender, Children and Social Welfare Mrs. Fatou Kinteh highlighted that male involvement is crucial in ending GBV. She used the occasion to call on men and boys to refuse to be bystanders, to challenge stereotypes and to reject impunity in order to contribute towards eradicating GBV in The Gambia.

The Orange Centre will provide critical health, psycho-social and legal services including the clinical management of rape, as well as temporary overnight stay to survivors of GBV through an integrated approach that delivers care to them in dignity and safety. The centre is linked to the GBV Helpline-1313 thus it forms part of the GBV referral pathway through which UNFPA is supporting partners to deliver survivor-centered care.

In addition, survivors who come to the centre will participate in communities of interaction and be supported to access socio-economic opportunities that will facilitate their smooth reintegration back into their communities.

Through sustained strategic partnerships, the centre will be run by the Network against Gender-Based Violence with guidance from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Health.

Within the space at the centre, a youth multi-purpose arena has been created to provide a space for young people within the community to engage, learn and share on various issues around GBV and Sexual and Reproductive Health.

The Orange Centre is a key milestone in UNFPA’s support to strengthening the country’s GBV response mechanism and ensuring that women and girls of The Gambia are protected and prioritised in development endeavours.



Media contact:

Haddy Jonga – Programme Analyst Communications, UNFPA The Gambia