Dec 23, 2009, 1:47 PM
During a three-day sensitisation session in the Badibous, officials of the women’s rights NGO held forums in Kerewan, Njaba Kunda, and Kinteh Kunda Janneh Ya in the North Bank Region.
The awareness-creation campaign is part of a project dubbed “Advancing women rights and ending harmful traditional practices through rights education with community leaders.”
The two-year project, funded by the UN Women’s Fund to raise awareness on the effects of FGM and all form of gender-based violence, is being implemented by Gamcotrap.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Isatou Touray, executive director of GAMCOTRAP, said the aim of the project is to enlighten women and opinion leaders on the need to end harmful traditional practices, particularly female genital mutilation.
The campaign aims at promoting dialogue and awareness among all stakeholders, and to promote peace building among families to ensure consensus building.
Dr Touray said community involvement and participation to end practices like FGM is crucial to enhance healthcare service delivery.
She said FGM is a deep-rooted cultural practice that should be eliminated in order to safeguard the reproductive health of women and girls.
The Gamcotrap official thanked the Gambia government for attaching great importance to the advancement of women.
Governor Lamin Queen Jammeh of NBR thanked GAMCOTRAP for complementing the government’s efforts in promoting the rights and health of women and girls.
He said raising public awareness on harmful traditional practices would strengthen the health and social status of women and girls.
Chief Yahya Jarjusey of Jarra East district, who doubles as a board member of GAMCOTRAP, said such sensitisation forums would help circumcisers to stop circumcising girls.
He said there is a need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders in order to eliminate harmful traditional practices such as FGM and early marriage.
Chief Jarjusey called on religious scholars to be supportive to the campaign to discourage the practice and promote reproductive health.
Bakary Jammeh, district coordinator for Upper Badibou and Sabach Sanjal, said communities in the two districts are becoming aware by advocating for an end to harmful traditional practices.
Chief Fabala Fadia Kinteh of Lower Badibou and Chief Alagie Jagne of Central Badibou both gave assurance of their districts’ support to the anti-FGM campaign.
The district chiefs called on the people to be steadfast in promoting the advocacy programme at all levels, and to be vigilant to ensure that people desist from the practice.
Oustass Khalipha Jammeh and Muhamed Sanowo said “FGM is un-Islamic,” and called on women and circumcisers to desist from the practice.
Amie Bojang Sisoho, project manager, said the fight against FGM calls for collective efforts to protect and preserve the rights of girls at all times.
The communities thanked GAMCOTRAP for enlightening them on the negative effects of FGM and gave assurances of their support.