By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
Communities of Busumbala and Old Yundum were educated on the effects and legal implications of FGM/C.
The sensitisation happened over the weekend at a school in Old Yundum with more than fifty participants.
It was organised by Njaboute Foundation, which said it is currently involved in a series of community awareness initiatives such as sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), HIV/Aids and tuberculosis through Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC). The Foundation hopes these initiatives would arm youths with the required knowledge on SRHR.
“The Foundation is here to address health issues in the country and support the less privileged,” said Ebrima Bah, its president.
Focusing on the topic, he said FGM/C is a deeply rooted cultural practice often confused with religion.
“It has no health benefits but only causes complications to the life of a woman,” he said.
The former president passed a law in 2015 banning the practice but activists said people are still practicing it.
Mr Bah therefore called on all Gambians to join hands in the crusade against FGM/C. He also advised parents to desist from the practice.
Pain and suffering is what it causes, said the foundation’s administrator, Isatou Bobo.
“FGM/C causes profuse bleeding during labour which leads to hypovolemic shock, severe anaemia and even death if prompt, efficient and effective emergency care is not instituted,” she stated.
The legal officer of the foundation, Anna Mendy, informed the gathering that although the practice refuses to entirely go, it remains a criminal offense under the laws of The Gambia. She cited various sections of the Women’s Act to back her argument.
“Anyone found guilty is liable to a mandatory jail term of three years, a fine of fifty thousand dalasi or both,” she warned.
She urged participants to report any case of the practice to police.
Participants were awarded various prizes at the end of the two-day convergence.
The event was sponsored by MMK Gambia Finland Friendship Foundation.