Women’s Reproductive Health Tops Agenda in Basse

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Over 50 women circumcisers, traditional birth attendants and women leaders participated in a three-day training course on sexual and reproductive health rights and entrepreneurial skills in Basse recently. One of the main aims of the course was to provide alternative employment opportunities for trained ex-circumcisers who have stopped practicing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The training was organised by The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) in partnership with the Inter-Africa Committee and Equality Now.

Speaking to the participants, the Assistant Governor of URR Mr. M.S. Kah, congratulated GAMBCOTRAP for the continuing struggle to support the women of URR in the pursuit of their development agenda. He further observed that the sensitisation being carried out by GAMCOTRAP is encouraging people to stop FGM.

For her part, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray noted that ex-circumsisers were setting the pace for the winds of change. She said this was particularly highlighted by the Dropping of the Knife last year at The Independence Stadium.

Dr. Touray went on to tell those gathered that poverty is one of the factors which led to the perpetuation of the practice of FGM.

The local government councilor for Basse, Mariama Jaw, called on women to take a leadership role in ensuring the cessation of FGM and its effects on women and girls. It was also observed at the sensitisation programme, which was attended by over 100 women, that women have always taken leadership at the household level to improve the welfare of the family and the community.

Meanwhile during a courtesy call on the Governor of URR, Omar Khan commended GAMCOTRAP for it sustained engagement in the region and said that he is optimistic that URR is anticipated to be the first FGM free zone in The Gambia.

The GAMCOTRAP, URR community programmes were witnessed by learned Islamic scholar in Basse, Saikou Fayinke, the Alkalo of Kaba Kama Aja Fatou Danso and the National Women’s Councilor Kumba Kora amongst others. 

Source: The Point