Stop FGM now, says an ex-circumciser and colleagues

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Saibo Jawo, an ex-circumciser and some of her colleagues in Nafugan village in the Upper River Region have called on women who are still engaged in secret practices of Female Genital Mutilation (circumcision) to stop the act.

Madam Saibo Jawo was speaking recently during a five-day media-field visit to the village, organised by UNFPA, The Gambia.

She and her colleagues spoke on the implications of FGM and promised to continue their sensitisation campaign in their various communities to stop FGM.

Isatou Sonko, president of Think Young Women Association, an organisation that advocates against the practice of FGM, disclosed that the organisation was on a seven-day sensitisation campaign in the region, noting that the campaign has taken them throughout the seven districts of the region.

She pointed out that one of the association’s key mandates is to sensitise community and empower young women, most especially the young girls. She said the theme of their campaign is dubbed, “End FGM: Awareness to action.”

Alkalo Mamodou Baldeh said the community has learnt a lot from the sensitisation campaign and they are now aware of the implications of FGM.

He assured the delegation that he would spearhead the campaign on FGM and would advise their women not to engage in FGM.

In Kerewan Samba Sire village near Sapu, Sarata Jabang, the president of traditional communicator group told visiting media personnel that some women’s group were trained recently as traditional communicators by Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA) and UNFPA.

She disclosed that the group visited surrounding communities to sensitise them on the implications of FGM, early child marriage, noting that FGM results in complications in child birth and prolonged labour amongst others.

She said FGM should not be misinterpreted and misconstrued with Islam.

She further said so many people are aware that FGM is banned, but some are secretly engaged in the act, adding that before the ban they used to charge a fee of D200, but they now charge D500.

The women group acted a drama which depicted the negative effects of FGM and a song: “I wanted to do FGM, but I have changed my mind, but I rather concentrate in providing rice for the family.”

Lamin Camara, UNFPA programme associate called on the Alkalos, traditional communicators and the women groups to keep the momentum, noting that having a community sensitisation of such magnitude was laudable.

Author: Bruce Asemota