Nov 1, 2019, 12:35 PM
Hands for Girls (SHFGs), a youth organization, recently held a two-day training
session for 60 students in the Greater Banjul Area on Female Genital Mutilation
(FGM) and advocacy.
The training activity was aimed at creating awareness among students to know the health implications of FGM, and to advocate in their various schools and communities.
The coordinator for SHFGs, Mam Lisa Camara, said the training course was targeting students to enlighten them about the harm in FGM, and some of the ways forward in ending FGM in a generation.
She said students are expected to utilise what they have being trained on regarding FGM and advocacy, adding that they are the change makers in stopping the harmful practice.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, held at the NaNA conference hall, Hayrullo Malikov, a special protection officer at UNICEF, emphasised the importance of children’s rights, especially in the issue of FGM, which he described as a human rights violation.
He said children and girls should be protected as they have rights like any other person, and need to be valued and protected.
Malikov added that FGM is a practice which physically and psychologically affects the child’s wellbeing.
Mustapha Drammeh of MoBSE also elaborated on the effects of FGM in the lives of children and girls, and how it affects them mentally even in school.
“Many girls in some schools drop out of school due to the severe complications which they cannot control.”
He called on students to make best use of the training course, and to sensitise their various communities in working towards ending FGM in The Gambia.
The Director of Social Welfare, Fanta Bai Secka, stressed the importance of involving students in such training activities to change the mindset of the community on issues regarding FGM, and to also inform them about the law governing FGM.
She said men should also be involved in the fight against FGM, even though the practice affects women, and to make them understand that there are health implications attached to FGM.
She urged the students to continue sensitising their communities and parents, adding that they should be having a dialogue with their peers and in the homes to help make FGM a thing of the past.
She thanked SHFGs for coming up with such initiatives in eradicating FGM, adding that her department would be willing to support them in any noble cause in the protection of girls and women.