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Gamcotrap, UNFPA launch anti-FGM crusade in two NBR districts

Sep 5, 2014, 10:11 AM | Article By: Picture: Local authorities give support to anti-FGM campaign in the North Bank Region

GAMCOTRAP is targeting 118 communities in Upper Badibou and Sabach Sanjal Districts in a three-year project funded by the UNFPA/Gambia Government Country Programme 2012 and 2016 entitled: “Accelerating the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Gambia.”

To launch the project in the North Bank Region, GAMCOTRAP paid a courtesy call on the Governor of the Region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, at Kerewan.

Briefing him on the project, Gamcotrap executive director Isatou Touray informed him of the project objectives, which aim at raising awareness and empowering communities to end FGM and protect their girls and women.

The governor welcomed the Gamcotrap team to his region and stated his support to end FGM.

He said the eradication of FGM is part of the development process and should be a concern to everyone.

“FGM, early marriage and women’s rights are three important issues that people should be concerned about,” he emphasized.

Governor Jammeh noted that development cannot take place if women are left behind and that despite the difficulties in changing culture changes are taking place, and urged Gamcotrap not to relent in the progress being made.

He said involving young people at an early age would result to accelerating change. He informed the team: “We are together in spirit and we are with you in your efforts to protect the girl children from FGM.”

One hundred and fifty Community and Women leaders have been the target of the launching of the Gamcotrap grassroots FGM activities in Upper Badibou and Sabach Sanjal.

Representing the Governor of the North Bank Region at the launching, Deputy Governor Mustapha Saidy explained that effecting change is not an easy task, and advised participants to accept change when it is in their interest.

He appreciated Gamcotrap’s efforts at creating the opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge on the issues being discussed.

Deputy Governor Saidy informed participants that the government supports the campaign to eradicate FGM as a commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of women and children.

Gamcotrap Board member Chief Alhagie Yahya Jarjusey, who chaired the launching sessions in both districts, said the campaign to abandon FGM is a global and development issue, and urged village heads to take the lead and contribute towards development.

He informed participants that the World Health Organization is against FGM as it is harmful and urge them to see the project as a positive intervention in their regions.

The Chief of Upper Badibou, Alhagie Ebrima Tamba Jammeh, speaking at Farafenni, stated that FGM is not a new discussion in the two districts and the advocacy to end FGM had taken a new dimension because it was people from the same culture engaging with them.

He reiterated that the aim of the government “is to promote women’s health and wellbeing”.As a result the project is important, to respond positively and utilize the information being shared to improve the health and wellbeing of women and children.

He assured Gamcotrap of his support and that of the participants to accelerate change in their districts.

He is confident the information would empower the women to protect themselves and their children.

The launching, held at Farafenni Community Center, was followed by a three-day training workshop which targeted at least 50 community-based facilitators from the two districts.

Participants were trained on social mobilization and advocacy skills to engage in the advocacy to end FGM and early marriage, as well as to act as liaison between the organization and their communities. 

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