Feb 24, 2012, 1:46 PM
Girl’s Agenda (TGA) supported by UNICEF on Friday started its annual girls
empowerment camp in Bwiam, West Coast Region.
Oumie Sisoho of TGA said the five-day camp would enhance the awareness of girls on issues affecting them.
UNICEF representative to Gambia, Sara Beysolow Nyanti, said the initiative was “a significant step” towards ensuring a world where the rights of children are fulfilled and respected.
“It is even more significant today as The Gambia sets off on a new journey,” she said, adding that the camp would provide an opportunity to dialogue and come up with solutions to the challenges that children are faced with.
Children in The Gambia are still subjected to harmful traditional practices that hinder their growth and development, and hamper them from reaching their fullest potential and contributing to national development.
“We must endeavour to make sure that every child in The Gambia enjoys their right to education,” the UNICEF rep stated.
Madam Nyanti said 75 per cent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years in The Gambia have undergone FGM, and about 79 per cent of these people live in the rural areas.
She also noted that 7 per cent of girls and women were married before the age of 15, and more than 36 per cent before the age of 18.
“These figures are alarming and required our attention,” she said, while further noting that the five-day camp provided a platform to build awareness on the dangers of the practices.
Abbie Barrow, board chairperson of TGA, said the organisation is committed to improving the lives of young girls.