#National News

Wassu Gambia Kafo holds V Int’l forum on GBV

Feb 9, 2022, 1:46 PM | Article By: Isatou Ceesay Bah

The Wassu Gambia Kafo alongside Wassu-UAB Foundation recently convened a two-day V International forum on Gender-Based Violence and harmful traditional practices in The Gambia.

The event held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center in Bijilo, was part of activities marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.

The event was designed to share experiences and to build networks and it attracted more than 250 participants from both home and abroad.

The forum was jointly supported by UNFPA-UNICEF, the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation, Catalan Fund for Development Cooperation and The Gambia OIC Secretariat.

Addressing the gathering, Prof. Adriana Kaplan, executive director of Wassu Gambia Kafo welcomed the participants from near and far, saying their presence is encouraging and that shows great interest to share knowledge in all forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

Prof Kaplan reminded that SGBV can take many different forms, such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, rape, child marriage, female genital mutilation among others, adding that the impact of SGBV on the victim is devastating and could have long time repercussions on the survivors.

"The reason for us being here today is with the objective of improving girls and women's health, child protection, recognizing their right to personal integrity and freedom and on a basis of social equality. This event also seeks to contribute to the 5.3 Sustainable Development Goals: to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child early forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Clearly, FGM is a development issue of concern." she explained.

Prof recalled that in 2015 with the support of other organisations, they achieved what was once thought of as impossible, as their combined efforts contributed to the amendment of the Women's Act banning FGM in The Gambia.

“Almost 7 years later, the practice has declined significantly but still continues. We believe this forum is an opportunity to create a critical space in which the current situation of FGM/C is addressed from different scopes and perspectives, where everyone involved comes together with the aim and will to coordinate and join forces and efforts.”

Hon. Ousman Sillah, who doubles as the chairperson of the National Assembly Select Committee on Women, Children and Health, maintained that one of the key partners and allies in the fight against harmful practice of GBV in particular FGM is the perception of people to inflict pain on people.

“No human being wants his rights to be violated and this should be the main statement to be shared.”

Hon. Sillah outlined the need to push the issue further to put the burden on the state to compel them to give out sufficient resources, as National Assembly has a committee with the goodwill to give support to fight against FGM

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