Young Women (TYW) under its project ‘engaging children and adolescents in the
campaign against harmful traditional practices’ with funding from UNICEF has
implemented the regional round of the National Drama Competition on harmful
The activity seeks to engage children, adolescents and women in the advocacy against GBV and SRHR by gauging and understanding their perceptions, creating a space for dialogue on the identified issues and equipping them with necessary information they need to prepare them for the abandonment of these practices.
Upon completion of the initial rounds, the final national round brought together seven senior secondary schools from various regions in the country, where Farafenni senior secondary school emerged winner.
Speaking at the event, General Secretary of Gambia Teachers Union, Antoinette Corr Jack, emphasized on the participation of teachers, saying that teachers work under very difficult circumstances and most times what they do was not recognised.
She said FGM and forced marriages are among the harmful practices that many women and girls experience, saying that millions of women and girls throughout the world continue to suffer from these harmful traditional practices.
According to her, rough estimates pointed out that the worst form of harmful practices might affect more than 500 million women all over the world.
“Women are also subject to violence and sexual abuse, but early and forced marriages are a hindrance to girls’ participation in society,” she said, adding that anything that hinders girls’ participation in society is a serious concern.
She dilated on the laws governing the practices and urged the government to popularise and put strict measures on the perpetrators, saying it’s time for action so that Gambia would be FGM and child marriage free.
For her part, Shabnaaz Zahereen of UNICEF The Gambia, said this was an innovative and participating process as well as an opportunity to engage young children in performing arts using drama for development and to advocate for child’s rights as they progress on collective engagement to work towards the elimination of harmful practices.
She commended TYM for their timely and diligent effort as advocates for the rights of girls and women. “TYW played a key role in sensitizing communities to creativity and innovation activities”.
She said that despite the legislation of the FGM Act, the practice still prevails based on community peer pressure, religious misconceptions and beliefs that rest in the minds of certain communities.
She concluded that there was much work to do and it demands collective response, saying that it was through shared activities that the Gambia could tackle FGM and other practices that create barriers on the attainment of women and girls.