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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Naini District Head Circumciser Declares No to FGM

January 31, 2011
Foroyaa Newspaper: The Gambia

The head female circumciser in the Niani District Na Jontang Jawneh has declared to stop practising Female Genital Mutilation. This declaration was made during a series of training workshops organised in Bakadagi Mandinka and Kuntaur Jakaba in the Naini District. The workshops organised by GAMCOTRAP were funded by UNFPA joint programme for the acceleration of the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation in one generation in Africa. Bakadagi Mandinka hosted 10 other communities in the cluster, while Jakaba hosted fifteen (15) Communities.

GAMCOTRAP was welcomed in a fan fare of Kankurang dance at Bakadajie Mandinka which hosted Circumcisers, Traditional Birth Attendants and Women Leaders from other surrounding communities in the cluster. At Jakaba participants of the reproductive age from 15 communities were reached to raise their consciousness on the effects of Female Genital Mutilation, Gender Based Violence and Rights of Women and Children amongst others.

Speaking on Islam, FGM and the rights of women and children, religious scholar Oustass Abubacarr Kanteh noted that FGM is not an obligation in Islam and parents have responsibility to protect their children from all forms of harmful practices. Oustass Kanteh further noted that Islam promotes knowledge seeking and called on parents to educate their children - girls in particular. He cautioned parents to stop early and forced marriages and take responsibility to educate their daughters as education is the key to success.

The Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP Dr. Isatou Touray expressed appreciation of the leadership role Na Jontang Jawneh, head of the Circumcisers in Niani district took to publicly declare her support to support GAMCOTRAP in the campaign to stop Female Genital Mutilation - FGM and highlighted the importance of community consensus to protect girls from the practice and all other forms of Violence. The training workshops provided opportunity for communities to discuss women’s rights issues, Gender Based Violence and FGM in the context of sexual and reproductive health. Several participants gave testimonies on the issues raised during the training and contributed to the debate to promote and protect women and children’s rights.

Participants from both training programmes came to consensus to stop FGM and pledged to share the knowledge gained during the training. It was noted that gender based violence and sexuality issues were of great concern to women of reproductive age. It was courageous to hear several women share their experiences with others.

Prepared by GAMCOTRAP
January 2011