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Dr Isatou Touray: Gamcotrap not affiliated to any political party

May 18, 2011, 3:15 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The executive director of Gamcotrap has made it categorically clear to people of Kombo North that Gamcotrap is not affiliated to any political party.

Dr Isatou Touray made this clarification while addressing over 50 participants comprising women mobilizing district authority, local authority, Yai compin, the youth, and ward councillors at the opening of a three-day sanitization campaign to end FGM – female genital mutilation.

The campaign that drew participants from all parts of Kombo North was held at Sukuta village.

The programme was funded by the Save the Children, UN women project 2011, from a health-based on rights-based approach fighting against female genital mutilation.

In her remarks, Dr Touray stated that Gamcotrap has nothing to do with politics, adding: Gamcotrap is an NGO working to promote women’s human rights, looking at harmful traditional practices that affect the health and wellbeing of women and promoting those rights in the context of culture.”

The project belongs to everybody, she says. It is sponsored by Save the Children Sweden based in Dakar, in collaboration with the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, which is supporting Gamcotrap in its advocacy for the elimination of FGM in The Gambia.

The meeting, she explained, is a continuation of the project with the people of Kombo North, adding that initially it was people of the Kombo South who converged to create awareness about FGM on women’s health and rights-based approaches.

“We are now scaling up to Kombo North, she added, saying the ultimate goal is to reach a consensus to stop FGM, and “hopefully by 2012 the participants drawn from various zone will make a public declaration”.

She noted: “The circumcisers will tell the whole world that they have stopped FGM, after learning the effects of FGM, but will still continue to take leadership roles in protecting girls in the community together with the community.”

According to her, the Upper River Region is the lead region in the process, “as URR is the first region to make a declaration”.

She says the community needs right information about whether FGM is a religious injunction or not ,so that they can make the right choices.

“We are taking a culturally responsive approach to this fight against FGM, as FGM is crosscutting, irrespective of whether the person is highly educated or not,” she said. “We know that it is embraced by everybody; therefore it is our responsibility to respond to the targeted groups.”

She further explained that the main challenge that Gamcotrap faces in their sensitization campaign is that of people’s perception that “Female Circumcision is our religious tradition and it has been long practised and we have been doing it long time why do we have to talk about it”.

“These are some of the challenges we face,” she said, calling on the participants to join the struggle to end FGM.