The Gambia Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices and The Rights of Women and Girls have joined the rest of the world to celebrate the '1 Billion Rising' in Jarra Soma, in Lower River Region. The celebration was a twin event which was held in LRR and the Kanifing Municipality respectively.
These august gatherings took place at both the urban and rural areas with a slogan striking, dancing and rising against Violence Against Women, (VAW).
It also coincided with the launching of a 8 CD track record produced by the "Sankalanbaa "traditional communicators in the Lower River region. The Sankalanbaa Women's group has dedicated their cassette 'Changing Songs' to turn the negative tide of FGM in a positive way. The 8 CD track which was translated into English, Spanish and French was originally sang in mandinka to educate the children about the positive culture of doing away with female genital mutilation.
Addressing her audience at Soma Dr. Isatou Touray the executive director of GAMCOTRAP said is very important day in the history of the fight against Violence against Women. "One Billion women and men are Rising against Violence Against Women, calling for Zero Tolerance to Violence Against Women all over the world".
"As I am addressing this August gathering in the Gambia, billions of people all over the world are doing a similar thing across the globe. The world is wielding the global energy raising their voices, spirits and bodies to Strike, Dance and Rise against VAW and impunity" said Dr. Touray.
She noted that the day is also a significant day for the whole world, as it is recognized as "Valentines Day". A day that lovers renew their love, commitment to others by expression of appreciating the conjugal unions, love affairs to strengthen the bond of love of each other. One Billion Rising against violence is to call the attention of the world where 203 countries are weaved together in their efforts to effect "Zero Tolerance" to Violence against Women by Striking, Dancing and Rising to end Violence Against Women.
Dr. Isatou Touray said while efforts are towards fighting VAW, challenges still exist, which needs to be given the due attention to protect and promote Women's Human Rights.One Billion Rising is the beginning of the new world ignited by a new energy, she announced; that it is not the end of their struggle but the escalation of it. She added that to respond to this global phenomenon everyone must make a pledge to protect women from violence against women. This pledge, she said would result to One Billion Commitments resulting to a Violent Free world where all will enjoy their fundamental freedoms and Human Rights. I am one of the Billion Rising and I pledge that the Gambia shall be free from FGM by 2020 and I pledge that early marriage will end by 2025, with availability of resources to facilitate the mobilization process.
She said her pledges is a social mobilization process to empower Cluster Communities, institutions and individuals through awareness creation and raising consciousness to end FGM and early marriage in the Gambia. She urges the gathering to pledge 'End VAW' to make the world a better place for everyone especially women.
GAMCOTRAP Executive Board Member, Chief Yaya Jarjusey welcomed the gathering and informed that the event is a worldwide one and efforts are being made to end female genital mutilation. The Alkalo of Soma, Alhagie Landing Darboe also expressed his appreciation to the event.
Amie Bojang Sissoho gave a brief background information about the relationship between her organization and the host group.
Mrs. Fatou Njie - Jarjusey led the march past of the Sankalanbaa Kafoo.
The celebration was attended by other dignitaries and grassroots activists including youths.