Crr — The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) on Friday concluded a three-day community sensitisation on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The three communities sensitised were Lamin Koto, Sare Nyanga Jallobeh and Sare Bakary, all in Niani and Sami Districts respectively, in the Central River Region north. The aim of the sensitisation is to eradicate FGM through grassroots activism.
Giving the educative and research aspect of the FGM, Mary Small, the senior programme coordinator GAMCOTRAP, said that FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. She pointed out that FGM has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. The practice, she reiterated, causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences, including an increased risk of maternal morbidity and an increased peri-natal mortality rate among babies born to women who have undergone the practice.
The programme coordinator and IEC officer of GAMCOTRAP, Amie Bojang-Sissoho, spoke extensively on the dangers of FGM, citing that for the past decades, local, national and international actors have significantly increased their efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation. The practice, she went on, is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights, and called on the communities to stop it.
Madam Bojang-Sissoho pointed out that FGM is acknowledged as a longstanding traditional practice and doesn't have any connection with religion. She posited that due to its health implication, there is an urgent need and commitment to achieve the goal of eliminating the practice.
GAMCOTRAP field coordinator Isatou Jeng highlighted the rights of the child and called on parents and caregivers to protect their children against any danger.
The chief of Niani, Alhaji Pierre Bah, thanked GAMCOTRAP for their efforts in creating community awareness, expressing optimism that the sensitisation conducted would go a long way towards eradicating FGM. He opined that as far as FGM is a cultural practice and it is not religious practice, it should be eradicated.
Other speakers included the three Alkalolu, Nofoy Jallow of Sare Nyanga Jallobeh; Saikou Jabbi of Lamin Koto andAlhaji Kebba Mangan of Sare Bakary.