Mrs Fatou Kinteh made the comment recently at the launch of the Global Multimedia Campaign to end FGM in The Gambia by the Guardian newspaper, Safe Hands for Girls and Think Young Women.
She said: “The UN is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, including the rights of young people, especially adolescent girls. It is for this reason that UNFPA and Unicef have come together to jointly implement the largest United Nations programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM. The programme is being implemented in 17 countries in Africa including The Gambia.
“Female genital mutilation is a deep-rooted traditional belief and practice that threatens the lives of millions of women and girls in the countries where the practice is concentrated, FGM has devastating health, reproductive health and psychologicafgm campange.JPGl effects all of which are against the rights of girls and women.”
Kinteh stated that FGM poses a serious short and long-term consequences for the health of women and girls which is why it was imperative that they are protected and extend support to those who have been subjected to the practice.
”Since its inception in 2009, social mobilisation activities were targeted at men, women, youth, traditional and religious leaders and scholars , health workers, national assembly members, local government authorities, schools and traditional communicators, Since in 2009 over 40,000 individuals have been directly reached and more than 300,000 have been reached through newspaper publications, radio and traditional media. A total of 50 circumcisers in Upper River Region and the Central River Region have made a public declaration to abandon FGM. FGM is integrated into the curricular of the health professional schools and 250 health professionals have been trained on the management of the FGM complications.”
She further noted that going by the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey Statistics, national prevalence for FGM has reduced from 78 percent to 74.9 percent.
“The media is important in creating awareness to influence change. The important thing is first to have a thorough understanding of the subject and to know and understand your audience. With this information one can communicate to your audience without offending them especially when dealing with culturally sensitive issues like FGM. We have come a long way in the campaign and we must not relent. Our efforts are required to further protect women and girls. There have been successes in accelerating the abandonment of FGM in some communities; though the challenge remains enormous in some parts of the country.”]]>