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WAVE Gambia

The Women’s Association for Victims’ Empowerment (WAVE) is a new organization that was created in mid-2019 by a group of seven women activists who have been involved from the outset in the transitional justice process in The Gambia. Four of the women themselves are direct victims of human rights violations. The creation of WAVE was deemed necessary with the stark realization that, inter alia, women’s voices, especially that of women victims, are not adequately heard and considered in the transition process in the country.

All members of WAVE were instrumental in the setting up of the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, which since its inception in 2017, has engaged in registration of victims of human rights violations, amongst others. Whilst working with the Victims’ Center, WAVE members identified gaps and the necessity to design specific gender-oriented programs and advocacy activities to ensure that women’s views and recommendations are properly reflected and taken into account. WAVE intends to complement the work of other organizations such as the Victims’ Center in promoting the transitional justice agenda, albeit with a niche that will address specific gender concerns.

Core members of WAVE have participated in training programs organized by Amnesty International (Netherlands) to enhance skills and capacity to properly monitor, document and report on human rights violations in The Gambia. They have participated in other transitional justice trainings organized by different United Nations bodies and donor organizations, including in collaboration with the Gambia government. They have also organized and led outreach and awareness raising programs, women’s circle focus group consultations and documentation of human rights violations and abuses of women and children as well as their needs for psychological, medical and economic support. Similarly, members have been instrumental in crowd funding to support needy victims with funds to meet some of their day-to-day needs.

Our Mission

The WAVE intends to collaborate with and give agency to victims (particularly women and children) through transformative and restorative approaches to achieve truth, reconciliation, reparation and accountability, and advocate for their meaningful participation in the transitional justice process in The Gambia. Women and girls will be offered a safe place where they can meet and interact freely and be empowered with skills and resources to make them agents of change in matters that are of importance to their lives.

Areas of interventions or strategies that WAVE will use include awareness raising; rights-based education; research and advocacy; women’s empowerment in supporting victims and marginalized women and girls.

Political Background

Under the 22-year rule of Yahya Jammeh, former president of The Gambia (from 1994-2016) who took over the country following a coup, The Gambia witnessed unprecedented human rights violations and abuses against women, men, boys and girls. These included extrajudicial killings, disappearances, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detention as well as indiscriminate and illegal use of force. Other human rights violations concern corruption and embezzlements of public funds and property expropriation, forced labor, and forceful arrests and incommunicado detentions. Reports of denial of appropriate HIV treatment and forced ‘purging’ under witch-hunt campaigns, sometimes resulting in death, were widespread. Curtailment to the enjoyment and exercise of rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, association and assembly led many to conduct clandestine activism activities.

Those who got caught were dealt with severely. Intimidation was used to suppress dissent and preserve the president’s grip on power. In addition, many suffered the misfortune of being tortured and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment with lasting psychological and debilitating health conditions.

Our board members

Ya Mamie Ceesay


Ida Marita Ek


Ismene Nicole Zarifis


Olay Ceesay Jabbi


Baba Galleh Jallow


Our team of dedicated professionals passionate
about supporting women and girls

Tim Bisong

Head of Programs

Priscilla Yagu Ciesay

Senior Technical Advisor

Catherine Jassey

Position xxxx

Charles Degold Gomez

Position xxxx

Supporters and Network of Young Professionals

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