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Think Young Women prepares youth to be anti-FGM advocates

Jul 28, 2015, 1:20 PM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Think Young Women (TYW) on Saturday concluded a five-day training workshop for 30 youth advocates against female genital mutilation/cutting in Greater Banjul Area.

The anti-FGM advocates were also trained on outreach, advocacy, and communication skills.

Held at NaNA conference hall on Bertil Herding Highway, the forum was funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Speaking at the closing, Momodou Mboge, assistant country representative of UNFPA, said the next stage for the participants is putting in place an action plan on the way forward.

He said the second aspect is an issue of innovation with the young people looking at the practice of FGM and devising a workable action on how to tackle it in a generation.

“We have seen a lot of work done in the area [of advocacy against FGM] but has it brought any difference? In a decade, it has not brought any difference,” Mr Mboge said.

“The Demographic Health Survey in The Gambia has shown the prevalence of FGM is still extremely high.Therefore, what we need now is an innovative approach to FGM in trying to advocate for its abandonment FGM.”

Njundu Drammeh, a board member of Think Young Women, said he was delighted that the participants are “deeply committed” to the cause of women and girls and to ending FGM.

“I know with your commitment and all the good things you have learned during the workshop, you will go out and excel,” he told the young anti-FGM advocates.

Mr Drammeh noted that the participants would ensure they are able to not only promote the rights of women and girls but also to ensure the harmful traditional practice called FGM is stopped at least in a generation.

“We have seen young people participating in the workshop with the zeal to bring about change, to bring about meaningful change in the lives of women and girls and children,” he said.

He told the participants that their credibility is of paramount importance if they are going to be advocates against FGM and the rights of women.

“If you go out to talk about a tradition that a lot of people hold and is dearer to them than life, then you ought to be gentle in the way you talk to them, in the way you want to change their minds,” Mr Drammeh said.

“It may not come over night, it may be difficult and the journey may be long but with the little bit of gentleness, information and knowledge gained on advocacy skills and so on, in very few years the FGM practice will be abandoned.”

At the end of the five-day training, the young anti-FGM advocates were each given a certificate for attending the training.