HOME AFFAIRS: Safe hands for Girls hits another milestone in combating FGM in Gambia

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Since the banning of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia by the President, Safe Hands for Girls with their outstanding support are currently running a one-month National Radio Campaign in all the regions on FGM, which started last week.

The institution has long since stood and is still standing firmly in the protection of children, especially women and girls and, in that vein, they are embarking on a radio campaign to sensitise people about the harm in FGM.

Speaking to The Point, Lisa Camara, Guardian Coordinator, said the radio campaign was geared towards totally combating FGM in The Gambia, especially in the rural areas.

She explained that ten people are selected in every region in their various community radios, and five selected in the Greater Banjul Area, all geared towards sensitising the people about FGM.

“In The Gambia, this is the period where our young girls are taken away to be circumcised,” she stressed.

Mrs Camara said Guardian has been supporting the campaign in The Gambia, working with SHFG’s and other organisations, especially the media by amplifying their voices in the fight against FGM.

She also pointed out that they are happy that the campaign falls in the holiday season, when most girls are likely to be taken away.

“We deemed it necessary that now is the right time to reach out to people, and to tell them that the FGM Act is in place; is law, and its implications,” she added.

She emphasised that at the end of the one-month campaign, her organisation expects the information to reach as many people as possible, through the media.

“We are reminding the people that the only reason why we are doing this campaign on FGM or the Act is because it is harmful to women, she said.

Describing The Gambia as a small country, Mrs Camara said many people are responding to their call, but that is not enough, as FGM could still be happening.

She stressed that FGM is something that people associate with religion, tradition and culture, meaning that many people out there still believing in the practice.

Hence some people relate it to religion, and as part of the campaign, some religious leaders are also invited to the radio stations to have their say on FGM and to clarify doubts.

She advised mothers that this campaign is part of protecting the future leaders of The Gambia, saying that the main reason for the campaign is because they have seen what it can do to women, and what it has done to them as well.

She added that mothers need to give them the chance to see what they have for them, stating that they would not talk in vain without basing it on useful evidence.

She also said despite the positive feedbacks and encouragement since the start of the campaign, many also are not happy as they are relating it to an attack on culture and religion.

“We accept all feedbacks, as it will help us to know if we are going in the right direction.”

Mrs Camara urged all the media practitioners to come out as they are the voices of the people, to sensitise people and amplify the voices of all the activists.

Author: Adam Jobe