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GAMCOTRAP Sensitizes Rural communities on FGM, others

Mar 25, 2009, 8:54 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh in Koina

In line with its objectives to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and to empower women and girls across the country, Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP) on Saturday March 21st held a sensitization meeting in Koina. The meeting which lasted for several hours was attended by participants from 16 villages in the Koina cluster.

Chema Gumaneh the son of the Alkalo welcomed the Gamcotrap delegation and other guests to the village.

Dr. Isatou Touray, Executive Director Gamcotrap thanked the community of Koina and environs for the warm welcome. She informed the gathering that Gamcotrap is an NGO working with men and women concentrating on development.

According to Dr Touray, her NGO was formed some 26 years ago and is working on issues such as FGM, teenage pregnancy, early and force marriages, women empowerment among others.

She informed the gathering about their recent visit to Spain. The message from Spain, she said was that by end of this year, they will penalize people who practice FGM. They are referring to immigrants who live in Spain and normally send their daughters back home in Africa for a visit and during which their relatives do circumcise them. This act, according to Gamcotrap action lady, will soon led some immigrants into deportation. She noted that Spanish authorities will not only stop at that but will send the victims parents to jail for 14 years and finally seize the child from them. She told the gathering that FGM is not an Islamic doctrine as some people though it was.

Oustass Saikou Fayenkeh, a renowned Islamic Scholar from Basse argues that no authentic habit is seen so as to justify FGM. "FGM is not as Sariah but a tradition" he said. He said that the Holy Prophet's time there exist an old woman who used to practice FGM in Medina and the Holy Prophet advice her if she is to do it let her cut very little. "So if people are accusing others for not been circumcise because they are not practicing FGM this is very sad," he added.

Mrs. Amie Bojang Sisoho, Program Officer Gamcotrap list too much of bleeding, itching around the genital, its prolong labour among others as some of the consequence of FGM.

She encouraged the women to desist from the harmful practice.

Aja Mariama Jaw councilor of Basse adviced the women to do away with the practice that is harmful to their health.

Bado Ali Ceesay, Chief of Kantong, Penda Damba and Haruna Sissoho of Koina thanked Gamcotrap for empowering them with knowledge.

Aja Sona Suko of Fantunbung, Ma Sunkay Dibbasey of Keneba, Aja Kona Kamateh of Gidda Kantora and Aminata Sowe of Libeh Kunda all of their commitment to stop the practice.

The program was punctuated with singing and dancing by women of Kantora and was graced by Modou S. Kah, Deputy Governor of URR.