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City of Banjul
Sunday, September 27, 2020

Chicago psychology school trains Gambian activists on trauma, stress management

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The training, organised in collaboration with a Gambian NGO, Gamcotrap, brought together participants working in the area of women and child rights. They were exposed to forgiveness, stress reduction, gratitude and appreciation for psychosocial support.

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“Our daily lives have always been marked by change brought by both the squalls and rays of light we encounter,” Dr Peddle said.

She added: “The truth is that all of us, including the children we work with have been exposed to stress, violence and trauma in some way regardless of its particular form. Exposure to violence affects children in many ways. The more profound the exposure is the more severe the effects.”

Dr Peddle added: “FGM is a long practised custom throughout The Gambia, and the girl child is often traumatised physically, emotionally and mentally and this trauma can forever alter the way she thinks about herself, interacts with others and perceives the world.”

Also speaking, the executive director of Gamcotrap, Dr Isatou Touray, said the Chicago institution was making efforts to connect and work with Gamcotrap to introduce ideas that would help in dealing with trauma arising from sexuality matters such as FGM and early marriage.

She said: “We have achieved a lot. We have succeeded in bringing FGM to the development agenda, and into the public space where every Tom, Dick and Harry talks about it. We have reached a stage that we are on a high demand. Communities and the public call on us.

“You cannot change a person unless the person takes the responsibility to do so. But you can discuss the issues and understand the situation.”

Meanwhile, during the training, the participants learned how to identify the different stress and trauma situations and ways to release them. They also learned how to use psychosocial activities to work with children to help them overcome stress, trauma and grief.

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