The Global Empowerment Movement (GEM), Nigerian Atlanta-based NGO whose executive director is the award-winning humanitarian Queen Blessing Itua, has honored the Gambian First Lady Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow with its Global Empowerment Distinguished Award of Excellence.
The ceremony took place during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
According to Itua, GEM recognizes the first lady for using her Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation to impact lives of the Gambians, especially women and children.
“We celebrate her for her effort in reducing poverty and empowering the marginalized—which is in line with the vision of GEM,” Itua said.
To stack it up for the first lady, GEM, in collaboration with the state of Georgia’s Black Caucus Chair, Karen Bennett will be honoring her, later, with the Honorary Citizen of Georgia Award in Atlanta, Georgia.
The caucus is the biggest in the U.S.
Already, Fatoumatta has been endorsed by Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari as an Icon of Inspirational Leader. A book to that effect, Blessing of Africa Iconic Inspirational Leaders coming out soon.
‘We are the Blessings of Africa’, written by Itua, was also presented to the Gambian First Lady.
Fatoumatta, who was present to receive the award, thanked Itua and GEM for the recognition—and for the encouragement it serves for her and the government of the Gambia.
Since its establishment in 2017, the Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation, the first lady said, has been giving hope to the hopeless in the country as it focuses on girls and women, offering support in health, shelter, and other social challenges.
“We have been able to shelter, and unite 550 children on the move with their families,’ she said. “And we support their parents financially, encouraging them to send the kids to school.”
She emphasized the importance of nurturing vulnerable children, insisting all children are born equal, though circumstances push some into situations beyond their making.
“Children are the future of the world,” she said. “Investing in them means investing in the future.”
Describing the recognition as timely because of its coincidence with the 30th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention (CRC) coming up Nov. 29, Fatoumatta dedicated the award to the Gambian children.
She vowed to be more committed to translating to action the CRC, to which the Gambia is a signatory.
Present at the occasion were officials of the Nigerian High Commission, those of the Gambia, and the UN.