TGG holds youth convergence on FGM

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Tot ADP 'Female Circumciser Lays Down Her Tools' Before downing her tools, this circumciser, Divinah Murkomen, aged 50 circumcised 500 of the 800 girls circumcised in Marakwet District in December 1999. She put down her tools - a knife and a razor blade -- at the encouragement of NGOs like World Vision, who enlightened her on the myriad hazards associated with FGM. Female circumcision is a deeply rooted cultural practice in Kenya. World Vision Kenya has developed an alternative initiation ceremony that maintains the important period of older women sharing their knowledge and advice with the young girl, without genital mutilation taking place. For twenty years, the women of the Tot region in Kenya have called on Divinah Murkomen to circumcise their daughters. Now Divinah has renounced her trade and insists her two younger daughters will not be circumcised. Africa color horizontal

By Aminata Ceesay

The Girl Generation TGG on Friday held a youth convergence on female genital mutilation that brought together 75 youth from all parts of the country.
The aim of the day long workshop was meant to end female genital mutilation in one generation, as part of the global campaign that supports the Africa-led movement to end FGM.

Speaking at the event, Musu Bakoto Sawo, programme officer, TGG, highlighted the significances of the campaign, saying “the campaign amplifies the issue on the international stage and brings attention to inspirational stories of change from some of the most affected countries in Africa including The Gambia. TGG accelerates the worldwide movement to end FGM by galvanizing action, supporting campaigns across Africa and pushing for more resources to end FGM through the effective use of Social Change Communications and capturing positive stories of change. As such, TGG provides a positive identity under which the global movement can rally and a common platform for the idea that together we can end FGM.”

Binta Jammeh Sidibeh, executive director Women’s Bureau, described FGM as the most pervasive form of human rights violation.
“It is a worldwide phenomenon and the Gambia is no exception to this phenomenon. FGM/C violates girls’ and women’s right to health, security, physical and psychological integrity, their right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and when the procedures result in death, their right to life is also violated.

“Research has indicated that it does not have any health benefits. On the contrary, long-term consequences include complications during childbirth, problems urinating, anemia, infections, infertility, formation of cysts and abscesses, painful sexual intercourse, hypersensitivity of the genital area, increased risk of HIV and worst of all obstetric fistula.”

Also speaking, Ms. Sharon Wardle, ambassador designate, British Embassy Banjul, said: “The government of the Gambia has put in place different legislations that protect, promote and safeguard the rights of women and children in the country.”

Sise Sawaneh TGG media Ambassador said: “We have done a lot of work, especially working with different media houses to disseminate information to make sure that whatever is discussed is taken to the masses. We are all aware that there is a law but then there is another dimension that we have taken as activists and also journalists to popularize the anti FGM and child marriage laws. I am glad that the president has given the assurance that female genital mutilation and child marriage laws are good laws and that they are here to stay.”