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Gamcotrap Vows to Eradicate FGM in The Gambia

Jan 30, 2009, 6:07 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practice (Gamcotrap) is showing no sign of abating in its efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) in the country. The practice, according to activists, is harmful and unhealthy affecting the victims physically, mentally and psychologically.

Gamcotrap and their partners from Spain on Wednesday convened a press briefing at the organization's headquarters in Bakau Newtown, along Garba Jahumpa Road.

Addressing journalists on the occasion, Dr. Isatou Touray, executive director of Gamcotrap, said that her institution, with support from a Spanish NGO called O'dam and The Council of Oviedo (Spain), is implementing the project "training and information campaign to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation". The project, she said, seeks to empower communities particularly in the Lower River Region about the traditional practices that affect the rights of women and the girl-children.She revealed that the project will also provide alternative employment for the circumcisers.

Zuleyka Piniella, project coordinator of O'dam, and her team visited the country to provide assistance and support to Gamcotrap's work and define new guidelines for 2009-2010.

Two officials of the Home Affairs Ministry of Catalonian Government namely Cristina Manresa chief police officer in Barcelona who works in human rights protection and Noemi Ayguasenosa, responsible for civil society relations and mediation in the state department visited the country at the invitation of Gamcotrap and O'dam to enhance the former 's work on the prevention of FGM and to explain the action protocol on the prevention of FGM as a key issue for women's equality in Catalonian, Spain.

The visit also accorded the team the opportunity to meet representatives of 28 Gambain communities including those from Jarra West and Kiang East as well as Kaif and KenebaUpperBasicSchools.

According to Zuleyka Piniella, FGM is a crime in Spain and that the practice is against human right as it has a lot of heath consequences. She reaffirmed her organization's commitment in supporting Gamcotrap in making The Gambia FGM free.

For Neomi Ayguasenosa and Cristina Manresa, its important to explain the legal situation in Catalonia regarding the best practices on the law on FGM to protect the children of African immigrants from the practice. The multi-sectorial team also includes Mama Samateh, president of AMAM-Spain, an association that fights against FGM among Gambian and African immigrants in Catalonia.

The press conference was attended by the staff of Gamcotrap.