#Article (Archive)

GAMCOTRAP Certifies 50 Community Based Facilitators

Jul 8, 2009, 7:20 AM

Fifty Community Based Facilitators have been awarded certificates after completing an intensive training on the strategies, processes and issues relating to the advocacy to stop Female Genital Mutilation in the Gambia. GAMCOTRAP in partnership with YOLOCAMBA Solidaridad supported by the government of Madrid in Spain, conducted the training workshop for the Community Based Facilitators from the 1st - 5th July 2009 at Pakalinding, in the Lower River Region. The participants came from Upper, Central, Lower River, North Bank and the Western Regions.

Chief Yaya Jarjusey in his opening remarks appreciates the work of GAMCOTRAP. "It is working towards wiping the tears of girls and women", he argued. Chief Jarjusey called for patience, because he described the work of GAMCOTRAP as a holy cause to change attitude to protect them from the effects of FGM, child marriage and forced marriage. He advised participants to pay attention and to be prepared to share the information with their communities. This will be an important element in sharing the information. Despite the challenges, he assured them of his support for the organization to succeed. He acknowledged that the efforts being made are yielding fruits in other countries in Africa where the law that ban FGM exists. Chief Jarjusey called on the Gambian NAMS to discuss the possibility of having a law to protect girls from FGM.

Presenting the certificates, the newly appointed Deputy Governor of the Lower River Region, Mr. Wally Sanneh, said that nation building calls for the participation of all actors and recognized the role GAMCOTRAP is playing in that process He reiterated the importance of sharing the information with others in their communities. Deputy Governor Sanneh argued that one of the reasons why people resist change is because of ignorance and emphasized that the work of GAMCOTRAP is about improving the lives of women and children. He called on the Community Based Facilitators to start with their own households and Kabilos to stop harmful practices affecting women. He informed them that it is a challenge to change attitudes and advised them to use the knowledge gained from the training to empower others through dialogue.

The Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray thanked the local authorities in the Lower River Region for supporting the work of GAMCOTRAP in the Region. Dr. Touray recalled the support given by different opinion leaders, amongst them the local community leaders for the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2005 (The Maputo Protocol). She thanked the Chief of Jarra West for his continuous support for the empowerment of women and children's rights, health and well being.

Speaking on the training of the Community Based Facilitators, Dr. Touray commended them for their effective participation and thanked them for coming up with a draft three year strategic plan that is culturally relevant and sensitive. She said they deserve the GAMCOTRAP certificate to certify that they have attended full time training and have gained knowledge on GAMCOTRAP and its activities, the issues it addresses, the strategies it employs and the role they play as Community Based Facilitators to stop FGM and promote the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls. She said the involvement of men justifies that men also have a role play to support women's empowerment.

In her vote of thanks on behalf of the participants, Mammy Drammeh of Basse, thanked GAMCOTRAP for its support and encouragement for women's leadership. She promised that they would start with their families to protect girls from FGM. Participants also appealed for the involvement of the community leaders and call for political will to support the work of GAMCOTRAP in their public statements and the use of mass media.