The anti-FGM campaigner made the disclosure on Friday in Brikama during celebrations marking International Zero Tolerance Day on FGM.
She said: “In 2007, 18 circumcisers and 63 communities abandoned the knife and made a public declaration. This was the beginning of the wind of change that nobody can prevent because communities were aware of the effects of FGM and recognised FGM as a violation of the rights of the child. From 2007-2013, a total of 128 circumcisers and 900 communities have abandoned the knife, decisions that were all publicly declared in ‘Dropping of the Knife’ celebrations. During this process, Gamcotrap trained 247 community-based facilitators to engage in advocacy with their cluster communities to end FGM. Currently, there is escalation of the acceleration of the abandonment of FGM by communities.”
Dr Touray stated that their advocacy has escalated to the North Bank Region, targeting Sabach Sanjal and Upper Badibou under the UNFPA/Unicef Joint Project. She said 118 communities and 20 circumcisers are expected to drop the knife in 2016 if the resources are available.
“FGM is a painful act that violates the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and exists as one of the most violent acts performed on women and girl-children. Since 1984, the advocacy to eliminate FGM in The Gambia has been progressing phenomenally. Circumcisers and their communities have been abandoning the practice and protecting their girl-children and the level of awareness is at its peak because communities are aware of the effects of FGM on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girl-children.”
Earlier, Kebba Barrow, the programme officer of the non-governmental organisation said key facts indicate that over 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation. He noted that if the current trend should continue, about 86 million additional girls worldwide will be subjected to the practice by 2030. “It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, right to be free from torture and cruel , inhuman or degrading treatment and their right to life when a times the procedure results in death. Although primarily concentrates in 29 countries in Africa and the middle east, FGM is a universal problem and is also practised in some countries in Asia, Latin America. FGM continues to; persist amongst immigrant population living in Western Europe, North America Australia and New Zealand.”
The executive director of Women’s Bureau, Binta Jammeh-Sidibeh said a lot of efforts have been done by the government to address gender-based violence including FGM. “In 2010, a National Steering Committee on gender-based violence was established to coordinate interventions that address GBV. The national plan of action on gender-based violence and FGM/C is being developed. The formulation and implementation of The Gambia national action plan on GBV, FGM/C is part of efforts for the harmonisation and coordination of interventions of both state and none state actors in the eradication of traditional and cultural issues that affect the health and wellbeing of women and children.”]]>