The Department of Women’s Bureau recently organised series of community sensitisation forums on the 2015 revised edition of the amended Women’s Act. The forums, which were held in Kaur and Brikamaba, both in the Central River Region, were funded by the United Nations Fund for Population Affairs (UNFPA).
In his welcome address on behalf of the Executive Director of the Bureau, Omar Kanteh said the forum is part of a nationwide activity designed to reach out to communities especially those at the grassroots level with the objective to expose and inform them about the content and context of the Act prohibiting FGM in The Gambia.
He explained that President Jammeh has made a proclamation to ban the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) with laws to prohibit the practice in the country, and as a result, the Women’s Act was amended by the National Assembly in 2015.
“The amended edition of the revised Act now prohibits the practice of FGM, thus the need for us to come down to the district level to help and enlighten the general public towards the effects,” he stated.
The Women’s Bureau programme officer for CRR, Madam Lawa Drammeh-Sarr highlighted the negative impacts of early marriage and called on parents to desist from marrying their girls under 18 years. She implored on the participants to spread the knowledge gained from the sensitisation.
Junkung Jobarteh, the legal practitioner for the forum affirmed that the amended Women’s Act has been revised and prohibits the practice of FGM in all its forms in The Gambia. “Any person who engages in FGM commits an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of three years with a fine of D50,000 or both. Where the practice causes death, the penalty for that carries life imprisonment,” he informed.
The councilors of the areas Amie Mbye and Yama Njie both commended the Women’s Bureau for the initiative. They further described the sensitisation forums as timely and important, saying that it is all geared towards protecting the rights and welfare of Gambian women.
They further encouraged the participants to share the knowledge gained from the forums to the wider community.
by Lamin SM Jawo