During emergency situations like The Gambia is experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the essential needs of women and girls are often and easily neglected.
This is why, UNFPA The Gambia in partnership with the Gambia Red Cross Society on 7 May 2020, commenced the distribution of 300 dignity kits for women and girls in Basse.
A 6-hour drive from The Gambia’s Capital City Banjul, Basse is the regional capital of the country’s Upper River Region where the 3rd confirmed COVID-19 case was recorded. A town with a vibrant and bustling market that’s serves as a commercial centre in the region as well as for border communities in neighbouring Senegal and Guinea Conakry, Basse is one of the communities that has been targeted through intensified community engagement to spread COVID-19 information and preventive measures.
The dignity kits distributed among the women and girls in the community of Basse are part of a drive to ensure they are not left behind in the National COVID-19 response efforts and make certain that access to essential sexual and reproductive health commodities and services is not limited during this period.
Each dignity kit distributed contained a large plastic bucket, a baby flannel, 2 20g bars of bathing soap, 1 800g bar of laundry soap, a towel, wrapper, pair of slippers, drinking cup, scrub, deodorant, 2 underwear and a pack of sanitary pads.
Upon receiving the dignity kit, Fatoumata Fatty, one of the recipients from Basse Angalfuta had this to say:
“As a person living with disability, I always encounter challenges in trying to access dignity products for my personal hygiene. I am not able to afford some of the material provided to me in this kit. I am grateful to UNFPA and The Gambia Red Cross Society for coming to my aid at this critical moment. “
According to Mariama Magalo of Basse Kabakama, adolescent girls in rural Gambia like herself need such products to ensure their personal health and hygiene and especially during this COVID-19 period when fear is being propelled, movements are restricted and access to support is limited.
UNFPA, in line with its Global COVID-19 Response Plan continues to support the Government of The Gambia’s National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan aimed at limiting human-to-human transmission, mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the healthcare system by focusing on sexual and reproductive health at the levels of affected communities, and ensuring the prevention of gender based violence.