By Aminata Ceesay
Safe Hands for Girls on Saturday awarded journalists and media houses in recognition of their efforts in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation.
The end FGM media award is aimed at identifying and motivating journalists who have been working tirelessly in reporting cases and conducting research on FGM in the Gambia using media as an essential tool in the campaign.
Speaking at the event, Jaha Dukureh, executive director, SHFG said: “Sver since Safe Hands for Girls started working in The Gambia, the media has played a crucial role in our campaign and movement building. Safe Hands believes that journalists have a role in ending FGM and addressing other harmful traditions in our community.
“FGM was banned in this country because our journalists took a stand to address and educate our people about it and why it should end. They gave activists the platform to share their work and stories.”
Also speaking, Maggie O’Kane, global media campaign coordinator, said: “We have been looking for a way of amplifying on-going end FGM work through media. In the past two years, Gambia journalists and activists have exceeded our expectations with its dynamism, energy and will to campaign against female genital mutilation as they bravely continue to push boundaries under difficult political terrains, resulting a ban on FGM.
“The global media campaign, working with media gatekeepers, producers, citizen journalists and activists in communities where FGM is prevalent to break the silence surrounding the practice. We encourage you to continue reporting, continue investigating and continue standing up for all Gambian girls for better future.”
Saikou Jammeh, secretary general GPU, said: “This award ceremony is an important milestone in the history of this country. We have done a lot and we have achieved a lot, but eradicating harmful cultural practices isn’t an easy task and it doesn’t happen overnight. That is why the media must continue to play its very important roles in the fight against FGM.
“This is because the media is the most powerful tool of communication in all societies. As media practitioners, we disseminate information, we pass knowledge to the masses and that’s a very powerful weapon in our arsenal. It is important for us as watchdogs to realize that we need to take the lead in advocating for the eradication of the practice.”