Gambia Committee on Harmful Traditional Practice Affecting the Health of women and girls (GAMCOTRAP) has recently sensitized school dropout children on harmful traditional practices and education in Brikama.
The UNICEF funded activity aimed at enlightening the school dropouts on the effects of harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage.
Fatou Bojang, GAMCOTRAP field coordinator said the forum aimed at enlightening the school dropouts on the importance of education as well as raising their awareness on harmful traditional practice.
"This project is also meant to help the school dropouts to continue their education. It cannot be implemented without the dedication of the dropouts in education," she said.
Madam Bojang warned the young girls to avoid early and forced marriages, saying this traditional practice has severe health complications to women and girls.
She said FGM is another traditional practice affecting the wellbeing of women and girls in the society, adding that it has serious health complications such as excessive bleeding during birth and reduction of the woman's sexual desire, among others.
Madam Bojang, also a women right activist called on the participants to respect their dignity as women and not to compromise with sexual harassment by men in the society.
Haruna Badjie, social welfare officer for West Coast Region (WCR) said early marriage is unacceptable and no person has the right to drop his or her child from school for marriage, adding that every child has the right to education.
The social welfare officer said a child of less than twelve years cannot be arraigned in the court despite the content of the crime he/she committed.
He said under age children should not be enrolled in any security institution such as the armed force and they should not be given jobs that will be harmful to them. "A child of sixteen years can be given risk-free employment," he further said.
Fatoumatta S. Jallow, one of the participants commended the organization for sensitizing the school dropouts on the relevant of education and the health effects of harmful traditional practices.