Mentorship initiative empowers women in policing in The Gambia

UNMISS/Flickr: The Gambian UNPOL contigent serving in UNMISS, receive their UN medals in a ceremony on June 19, 2019 in Juba.
January 22, 2024

Between March and June 2023, a total of 18 Gambia Police Force (GPF) officers and Gambia Immigration Department officers met for a series of mentorship sessions on career progression, conflict management, and challenges faced by female officers through online forums.

The mentoring scheme was initiated to connect female police and immigration officers in The Gambia with experienced counterparts from the UK Thames Valley Police to build exchanges and address gender disparities within the police sector.

"The mentoring scheme revealed the great capabilities of women in the GPF, despite the challenges we face, it boosted my self-confidence and ignited a strong desire to take on more challenges, especially in leadership roles. This programme has not just mentored us; it has empowered us to break barriers and contribute significantly to the progress of our force." - Deputy Superintendent of Police Fatoumatta Touray, Officer Commanding Prosecution and Legal Affairs Unit, Police HQ

"I have gained greater confidence in myself and am motivated to serve with dedication and take on leadership roles thanks to the mentoring scheme. It has truly inspired me and boosted my confidence as a female police officer. The mentorship has motivated me to excel and serve as a female police officer with even greater dedication." - Assistant Superintendent of Police Mary Sibi Jatta

Pairing mentors and mentees carefully ensured participants’ compatibility so that each of them could gain valuable insights from the process. While the UK mentors gained insights into the unique perspectives and difficulties faced by Gambian female officers, the mentees reported enhanced leadership, communication, public speaking, and problem-solving skills.

The mentorship programme formed part of The Gambia's security sector reform process first established in 2017, supported by the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, the European Union, and Switzerland.

In addition to the mentoring initiative, DCAF also supported the Inspector General of Police to develop a gender mainstreaming policy, which promotes the appointment of female officers to higher ranks and positions of responsibility within the police force.

Examples include the appointment of the first-ever female Head of Police Operations at GPF headquarters, the selection of the first female Head of Public Relations, and the appointment of female officers to operational command positions.

These appointments hopefully demonstrate a new culture within the police that empowers female officers and promotes inclusivity – what SecurityWomen believes is the first step towards improving and strengthening overall, society-wide security.

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