permanent secretary at the Office of the Vice President and minister of Women’s
Affairs has described Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) as the most
pervasive form of human right violation in The Gambia.
Nancy Nyang was speaking on Tuesday at the opening of two-day validation forum on the National Communication Strategy on FGM/C, organised by Women’s Bureau with technical support from UNICEF. The forum is currently underway at the National Accreditation and Quality Control Assurance Authority Conference Hall in Kanifing.
The traditional act, she went on, is perpetrated mostly on women and girls mostly in their first weeks after birth.
“It is worldwide phenomenon and The Gambia is not an exception to this phenomenon. FGM/C violates girls’ and women’s rights to health, security, physical and psychological integrity as well as their right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and when the procedure results to death, their right to life.”
PS Nyang maintained that the act doesn’t have any health benefits, on the contrary, long term consequences include complications during childbirth, problems in urinating, anemia, infections and infertility among a host of others.
The government of The Gambia, according to her, has put in place different legislations that protect and promotes and safeguard the right of women and children in The Gambia.
She added; “Women’s Bureau under the Office of the Vice President and minister of Women’s Affairs in December 2015 enacted the first law to criminalise FGM/C in the country. Since its enactment few cases have been reported. Therefore, it needs vigorous sensitisation and enforcement. The Women’s Bureau with support from UNICEF has recognised the need to develop a communication strategy on FGM/C to guide the communication efforts at all level with specific focus at grassroots so as to bring about a positive behavioral change by accelerating the abandonment of FGM/C.”
She informed that Women’s Bureau has been leading the process in the development of the communication with technical support from UNICEF and other partners, civil society organisation, saying the strategy is based on a thorough secondary data review along with group discussion with communities in Basse, which makes it evidence base.
The communication strategy, she went on, when finalised, will be distributed to all partners so as to guide the communication aspect of FGM/C in communities.
She maintained that the validation of the strategy will enable stakeholders to look at the document and make any suggestion before the final document.