Basse Manneh Kunda Circumciser Drops Knife

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The community of Basse Manneh Kunda and their Circumciser, Dusu Kanteh, made a public declaration to stop female genital mutilation in their village. This declaration was made at this year’s celebration of Zero Tolerance to FGM organized by GAMCOTRAP in the Upper River Region. Speaking on behalf of the Governor of the region, the deputy Governor, Mr. MS Kah said his office is fully aware of the efforts being made by GAMCOTRAP and called on the region to give the organizations their support in the bid to protect women and girl children in particular. The National Women’s Councillor, Aja Kumba Kora, a native of Manneh Kunda thanked GAMCOTRAP for giving her village the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge on the effects of FGM and early marriage on the reproductive health of women and girls. She noted that despite years of resistance from her community, she was happy that they have reached consensus to stop FGM and promised that they would all work towards protecting their children.

Speaking to a crowd of over one hundred women and men, the Chief of Basse, Seyfo Muhammad Krubally, urged the women to take advantage of the sensitization to gain knowledge and to be aware of their role in protecting girls from harmful traditional practices. The Alkalo Lasana Manneh and Chairperson of Manneh Kunda Village Development Committee, Manlafy Sanyang, all welcomed GAMCOTRAP to the community and expressed their support to its activities. The Local government Councillor for Basse Ward, Mariama Jaw, noted that despite the slow pace experienced in changing peoples attitudes and perspectives, after two decades of awareness creation, the people of URR are positively responding to GAMCOTRAP’s call to protect girl children from FGM, the depressing bane of early marriage, and other harmful traditional practices.
In line with the theme for this year’s celebration of Zero Tolerance, Partnering with the media to reach Zero Tolerance to FGM, GAMCOTRAP joined the Kanyeleng women in Dampha Kunda in Tumana District led by their women’s leader Haja Magansa Jabbie and their former Circumciser, Aja Mama Ceesay in developing positive songs that promote the welfare of women and girls against FGM, early marriage, and other concepts that dis-empower women and girls. The Dampha Kunda programme was supported by a well known traditional communicator, Lamin Keita alias Takka Titii of Janjanbureh.

Meanwhile, GAMCOTRAP has responded to a call by the women of Basse Mansajang Kunda with a sensitization programme with one hundred participants, mostly young mothers, their circumciser and traditional birth attendants as well as men. The training focused on the effects of FGM and early marriage on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls. The Deputy Governor of URR, M.S Kah said he was in his official capacity representing the Governor, Mr. Omar A. Khan, who urged the participants to leam a lot from the sensitization because they are an important target to stop the practices. He commended GAMCOTRAP, through its Executive Director, Dr. Isoto U Touray for its commitment to the empowerment of women and to stop harmful traditional practices. Amongst the speakers was the chairperson of Mansajang Village Development Committee, Omar K. Baldeh, who noted that sensitization is to create awareness and to enlighten the people but cautioned that in the long run when there is a mass awareness, there would be a law to the stubborn ones who insist on continuing to harm children in the name of tradition.

Speaking at the ceremony, the chief of Sandu District, Seyfo Jung Bah, expressed happiness in witnessing such an important meeting and seized the opportunity to officially invite GAMCOTRAP to his district for parents to be aware of the effects of FGM. He noted that it was through awareness that some of the circumcisers have stopped for the greater benefit of society.

The series of outreach activities were supported by the Community leaders of the various villages, GAMCOTRAP advocacy team and religious advisers, Oustass Muharnadou Sanuwo and Saikou Fayinke, an Islamic preacher at Basse Community Radio and a native of Manneh Kunda, former circumcisers from Koba Kunda and Kaba Kama. GAMCOTRAP was supported by Action Aid The Gamhia to celebrate this year’s Zero Tolerance to FGM Day in the Upper River Region.

Source: The Point