Gamcotrap celebrates 3rd dropping of the knife in LRR
Friday, July 08, 2011
The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the Health of Women and Children (Gamcotrap) has successfully completed a three-year project in the Lower River Region of The Gambia in the campaign to eradicate FGM with constant support from ODAM, a Spanish NGO from Austria.
The implementation of the project has resulted to circumcisers in the region accepting to stop FGM, making public declarations against the practice. Twenty circumcisers will be celebrated as the “Sherones against FGM” on Saturday, 9th July 2011 at Soma. This will be the third dropping of the knife celebration organized by Gamcotrap since 2007.
This information is contained in a press release sent to the Daily Observer by Gamcotrap.The release reads: In 2008, an Astrurian-based women’s right organization, ODAM ONGD started partnership with Gamcotrap on a three-year project called: “Training information campaign to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation.” Since 2009, over twenty sensitizations and advocacy activities have been undertaken under the project period 2009-2011 with support from the chiefs, area councils, Office of the Governor, women leaders, community-based facilitators and the wider communities in Jarra and Kiang.
The project reached circumcisers and traditional birth attendants, community leaders (chiefs, alkalolu and Imams), women leaders, women of reproductive age and youths (male and female) and traditional communicators. Apart from reaching out to communities in the region, institutions such as security and the local government authorities from different units in the region were also trained on gender-based violence and the realization that FGM violates the rights of the child and the bodily integrity of women. At the institutional level, local government structures, coalition of institutions against FGM and select committees on health, and women and children also benefited from the ODAM project.
Through a series of consultations with the chiefs, women leaders and the Office of the Governor in the Lower River Region, and twenty circumcisers from Jarra and Kiang have been trained over the years and their capacity built on Alternative Employment Opportunities in their communities where they can earn income rather than cutting girls in the name of tradition.
Over 1600 people have directly benefited from the training programmes supported by the Oviedo Council and Axencia Asturiana through ODAM ONDG in Spain. This has a multiplier effect of reaching at least eight thousand people indirectly in the region. The project has resulted to awareness about the effects FGM has on women, the rights of women and children, and the realization that culture is dynamic and changes overtime. The project has also created the opportunity for participants from the six districts of Jarra and Kiang to realize that FGM is not an obligation on Muslim women but a mere traditional practice. It has been realized that FGM has a negative impact on the sexual and reproductive health of women and they have come to consensus to stop the practice.
The project period also created the opportunity for advocacy for a law against FGM. Local community radios and reporters from different media houses have given full support to the project implementation and Gamcotrap would like to thank them for their contributions. Gamcotrap would like to thank the government of The Gambia for creating the enabling environment for reaching out to the people and empowering them with information to make the right choice and decision.
Also special thanks to UNFPA, Global Fund for Women and the American Embassy Women for Action Project, whose support made it possible to reach out to some of the targets the ODAM project could not reach in the Lower River Region. Indeed, thank you ODAM ONGD and Partners in Spain for providing the resources and to the people of the Lower River Region for accepting that ‘Together we can!’ Join us to celebrate yet another milestone in the protection of girls from FGM in The Gambia.