Banjul Declaration: African Women Local Leaders Unite to Combat Violence against women under the auspices of REFELA

From 22 to 24 January 2024 , our Committee and its co-presidency of the Seine-Saint-Denis co-organised, with the support of the Lord Mayor of Banjul and President of REFELA, Ms. Rohey Malick Lowe, a regional training titled Towards caring territories for women victims of violence”in the capital city of The Gambia.”

After a first successful training held in 2022 in Iztapalapa - which focused on the Latin-American context (read the Iztapalapa Declaration here) –, this second edition brought together approximately 30 participants from 12 African countries. The aim was to foster exchanges, peer learning, and networking to underscore the pivotal role of local governments in safeguarding women and girls from violence. The event was organized as part of our three-year international program, "Caring territories for women victims of violence”, co-led with the Observatory of violence against women of the Department of Seine-Saint-Denis (OVF) and funded by the French Agency of Development (AFD).

The training set forth specific objectives to delve into the intricate dynamics surrounding violence against women in the African context and based on the experience of the women local leaders of REFELA as well of the OVF. It aimed to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various forms, widespread impact, and profound consequences of this pervasive issue for both victims and society at large, navigating the dynamics between traditional and modern contexts. Additionally, the training aimed to highlight innovative local practices dedicated to the care of victims of violence, establishing connections with the broader feminist municipal movement in the region. Furthermore, the initiative aimed to stimulate meaningful dialogue and elicit political commitment from Local Governments in the region to actively protect the rights of girls and women who are victims of violence.

During three days, participants and experts explored together key thematic areas which encompassed: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Forced Marriage, Sexual violence against girls and in situations of armed conflict and Advocacy for women's rights.

The seminar was organized over 3 days with 4 theoretical sessions, 3 workshops, 1 simulation of advocacy exercise and a field visit of the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violation.  Finally, the City of Banjul seized the opportunity of this training to advocate for a national discussion with the Government of Gambia through a dedicated high-level session held on the second day of the training.

The international training ended with the “Banjul Declaration,” (read here) which captures the commitment of local and regional women leaders to end violence against women, as well as calling on all levels of government to scale up and take action.



We, local and regional leaders from Africa, under the auspices of the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments and the leadership of Seine-Saint-Denis Department, its Observatory on Violence against women, and the Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) met in Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia, from the 22-24 January, 2024 on the occasion of the African Training on the theme “Towards caring territories for women victims of violence.”

The training took place under the distinguished patronage of the President of the Local Elected Women´s Network of Africa (REFELA), Hon. Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul, The Gambia.
We, Honorable Mayors and representatives of local and regional governments:

Recognize the important role of female political leaders in the fight to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, especially female genital mutilation, forced marriages and sexual violence;
Discussed of the necessity to speed up actions at the global, continental, national as well as the local level to eradicate all forms of violence against women especially female genital mutilation, forced marriages and sexual violence;
Examined the initiative of the Observatory of Violence against Women of the Seine-Saint-Denis Department in partnership with UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy, and Human Rights (UCLG-CSIPDHR);
Endorse the Iztapalapa Statement promoted by UCLG-CSIPDHR on behalf of the International Observatory on Violence against Women (OIVF), that commits to working together to strengthen Cities and Territories that Care for Women - in their plurality and diversity - victims of violence.
Call on other territories to join this effort in favor of feminist municipalism in order that together, we collaborate to promote tools, public policies, and training sessions to advance towards an OIVF.

“We call on women and men from every corner of Africa in particular and all continents of the world in general to unite and combat violence against women - United Cities are United Women. Our cities are shaping the new generation of women and girls and their future should be free of violence, building on solidarity. Let us together embrace the notion of care to foster equality among us. We will strive in dignity to liberate ourselves from the shackles of all forms of violence. Our equality driven international municipal movement is committed to fostering societies where boys and girls, women and men, can define their future in dignity, justice, peace and in solidarity with all women worldwide "

Done in Banjul, The Gambia  
This Day, the 24 January, 2024


The signatories of the Declaration are:

  • Hon. Rohey Malick Lowe (Host), Mayor of Banjul, The Gambia (West Africa)

  • Hon. Bongile Mbingo, Mayor of Ezulwini, Kingdom of Eswatini (South Africa)

  • Hon. Florence Eposi Mbwaye, Mayor of Limbe 1, Cameroon (Central Africa)

  • Hon. Folashade Olabanji-Oba, National Chairman of ALGOVC and Executive Vice Chairman, Ikorodu, Nigeria (West Africa)

  • Hon. Gladys Otae Addo Osei, Representative of NALAG and President of REFELA Ghana (West Africa)

  • Hon. Isatou Njie, National Coordinator of REFELA Gambia (West Africa)

  • Hon. Kiné Fall 2nd Elected Secretary, Department of Zinguichor, Senegal (West Africa)

  • Mr. Lahoussine Tiicht, 2nd Vice President of the Provincial Council of Inezgane-Aït Melloul, Morocco (North Africa) 

  • Ms. Maria Helena Jose Correia Langa, Mayor of Mandlakazi and Vice-President of REFELA Southern Africa (Southern Africa)

  • Ms. Mahamat Ardjoune, Communication officer of REFELA CHAD (North-Central Africa)

  • Ms. Pascale Labbé, Vice President Departmental Council of the Seine-Saint-Denis, France (Europe)

  • Ms. Renée Jeftha, Department of Social Development, Western Cape Province, South Africa (South Africa)


With the support of: