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GAMBIA: 75 Percent of Women Are Subject to FGM - Says Gamcotrap Coordinator

The Coordinator of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray, has said that 75% of Gambian women are subjected to FGM. Dr. Touray made these remarks recently when a group of journalists, who were undergoing an eight days training program on human rights, visited her office in Bakau.

Dr. Touray said that there is no recent statistics at the moment to show the trend but they believe it is on the decline.

"It is obviously on the decline," says Dr. Touray. She explained that they have covered 63 communities in the country and that people have dropped down their knives against FGM, after being sensitized on its effects and implications, meaning that people who were practicing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) have stopped it.

The coordinator of Gamcotrap further said that the wind of change has come and that people are not aware of the effects FGM on them.

Dr. Touray explained that at the beginning the campaign was difficult on their side due to people's resistance towards it. She said some people are ignorant of the issue, that another difficulty they were facing is to carry out publication of stories on FGM, which are totally different from what they are advocating for. Again another problem they are encountering, she said, is that the religious schools are not coming out to denounce FGM, due to earlier remarks they made about FGM. She pointed out that FGM has nothing to do with Islam.

Dr. Touray also added that at the beginning of the campaign there was no political will but now they have great political will. Touray pointed out that what they want is sustainability. She said women are vulnerable and are subjected to harmful traditional practices, early marriage and so on. She maintained that it is lack of awareness and sensitization which are leading to all these. The Gamcotrap Coordinator added that The Gambia belongs to all and that they are here for the development of all.

Gamcotrap was established in 1984 following a conference in Dakar where African women discussed issues affecting their rights such as harmful traditional practices.

SOURCE: allAfrica

AUTHOR: Amie Sanneh Serrekunda

URL: Click here

DATE: 21/03/2008

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