Gamcotrap has launched a two-year project with two hundred community leaders in Lower and Central Baddibu districts of the North Bank Region of The Gambia.
The project, which is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to end Violence against Women (UN Women), seeks to empower communities to end FGM and promote the rights of women and girl-children.
Community leaders and members of the Council of Elders from both districts participated in a series of workshops held in Kinteh Kunda, Njaba Kunda and Kerewan, respectively.
Speaking, the Governor of North Bank Region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, noted that traditional practices are deep-rooted in the area, but urged his people to reflect on the process of human development and the need for attitudinal change.
He however observed that to change attitudes, there is need for modesty in order to gain knowledge and make informed decisions.
Governor Jammeh expressed appreciation of Gamcotrap’s approach of working through local structures, commending Kerewan Community Radio station for its contribution in raising awareness. According to him, his people are responding positively towards ending FGM.
The chief of Lower Baddibu, Alhajie Fabala Kinteh, said the objective of the gathering is to engage in dialogue in order to bring about change in perceptions and attitudes to protect the next generation of girls from FGM.
Chief Kinteh challenged the religious leaders and scholars to take their responsibility to enlighten their people because a lot of people are now aware that FGM is not an Islamic practice and it has been confirmed that it is not in the Quran therefore the issue should be debated over, so as to come to consensus whether FGM is a religious practices or not.
Speaking at Njaba Kunda village, Chief Alhajie Jagne, said people could no longer hide behind culture to practice FGM. Chief Alagie Jagne expressed optimism that FGM will end in his district because some families have started resisting the practice.
Chief Yaya Jarjusey, board member of Gamcotrap, urged the village heads to share the information with religious leaders and scholars, pointing out that some countries have already enacted laws.
The executive director of Gamcotrap, Dr Isatou Touray, said goal of the project was to provide a safer environment for girls under 18. She thanked the beneficiary communities for their positive response.
Dr Touray told participants that Gamcotrap is set out to advocate for a better future for children, in support of government’s policies on women and children. She mentioned that the project will cover 56 villages in the two districts with a population of 38,134.
She said: “As we work on getting a law in place, the project will reach out to various target groups in the two districts.” She informed them of progress made with ex-circumcisers who have abandoned the knife and protecting girls from FGM.
Resource persons include Oustass Kalipha Jammeh and Muhammad Sanuwo.
Prepared by GAMCOTRAP]]>