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CTY holds national convergence on FGM, child marriage

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By Olimatou Coker

Catch Them Young has recently held a day-long national convergence on female genital mutilation, child marriage and sexual violence at Baobab hotel.

The event is funded by Unicef and its objective is to empower and enhance the inclusion of children in the fight against practices that hinder their growth and development.

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The initiative brought together parents, children, teachers, women leaders, youth leaders and local authorities from each region for a round table discussion to delve into the effects of female genital mutilation, child marriage and sexual violence, with the ultimate goal of ending these harmful practices.

Catch Them Young – The Gambia is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to discovering, nurturing and unleashing the potentials of children, while also protecting and promoting their rights in accordance with the principles and standards outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Children’s Act 2005 and other relevant human rights instruments.

Nasifa Binte Shafique, the UNICEF Country Representative, said that repealing the law banning FGM might also open doors for a setback on other girls rights.

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The Unicef representative urged the government to enforce existing laws against child marriage and invest in programs that empower girls promote gender equality, and provide safe spaces for dialogue.

Fatou Sunno, communications and program assistant at Catch Them Young, said: “We started at URR  and from URR we went to the North Bank Region and CRR, KM and Banjul and we really had a fruitful conversation. It was a really honest conversation. It was a time when there was a lot of noise going on with regard to repealing the law that is there to protect children and most especially girls, and the children really voiced out the fact that they do not want that to be removed because it is there to protect them.”

Tuti Drammeh, said: “To those who support female genital mutilation, we present an undeniable fact FGM is a harmful traditional practice that violates the rights of women and girls and has zero benefits. It is also important to note that there is no comparison between male circumcision and female genital mutilation”.

She said there is no term like female circumcision, only female genital mutilation.

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