Aug 19, 2014, 10:47 AM
Fifty women of reproductive age within the Kanifing Municipality on 16 November 2013 benefitted from a training workshop aimed at enhancing their knowledge and understanding on the effects of Female Genital Mutilation on the girl-child, women and development.
The forum, which runs from 15 to 19 November, was organised by the Gambia Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP).
Participants were also introduced to the findings of a project designed to raise public awareness and consciousness on the “live realities of women in the country”.
Speaking on the occasion, GAMCOTRAP`s senior programme coordinator, Mary Small, gave a PowerPoint presentation on FGM, which highlighted how the deeply-rooted traditional practice is performed as well as its devastating health implications.
Madam Small told participants that what they have learned at the workshop was just a tip of the iceberg, saying the effects of FGM on both the individual victims and the wider society are enormous with far-reaching consequences.
These, she noted, include urinary incontinence, broken marriages and maternal and infant mortality.
Touched by the austere revelations, many participants broke into tears, sharing disturbing personal experiences or those of close relatives who are victims of FGM.
The executive director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr Isatou Touray, made a passionate appeal to parents, particularly women, to safeguard their daughters from FGM and other harmful traditional practices such as early and forced marriage.
Dr Touray also enjoins parents to endeavour to give equal opportunities to their children to enable them become productive and self-reliant citizens.
She also used the forum to explain to participants the need for women to be elected into the National Assembly for them to further the cause of women.