GAMBIA: Fight Against FGM Boosted - As 24 Communities Drop The Kife In Urr
Basse Urr — In what could be described as yet another victory in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM), about 24 communities in the Upper River Region on Sunday the 14th June, solemnly declared publicly that they will no longer circumcise their girls.
Bakary Tamba, Tostan's country co-ordinator, explained to the gathering that Tostan's mission is to empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights. According to Tamba, in 2006, Tostan established a partnership with The Gambia Women's Bureau and UNICEF to facilitate non-formal education in The Gambia.
Co-ordinator Tamba further stated that the declaration that the women were making, will go a long way in maintaining good maternal health. He urged the women to continue advocating and sensitising their relatives and fellows. He finally thanked the government of The Gambia through the deputy governor for providing the conducive environment for them to execute their roles.
Reading the declaration on behalf of the 24 communities who were all paraded before the gathering, Mansata Kanteh said they had came to the decision after having gone through the Tostan community empowerment programme where they learnt about health, hygiene, democracy, human rights and problem solving. She further stated that their decision was historic, and aims at reinforcing the national movement for the promotion of human rights in The Gambia, in Africa and the rest of the world. She also expressed gratitude to the government, under the leadership of Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh.
The UNICEF country director/representative, Min Whee Khang paid tribute to the 24 communities for choosing to abandon and forget FGC/M. The Unicef country representative also said that she was indeed delighted with The Gambia's leadership for strengthening and fostering the partnership with UNICEF in the development of the rural communities.
AUTHOR: Alieu Jamanka
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