Youths call for platform against FGM
Friday, August 01, 2008
The youths of kombo south district have recommended the need for the creation of a platform for youths in the regions to discuss issues of traditional practice and gender based violence at the end of a one day training on Female Genital Mutilation related issues held at Jambanjelly, Kombo South Western Region.
The objective of the youth platform amongst other things is to engage young people within kombo south on FGM and other sexual and reproductive health and right issues to stop gender based violence.
The day’s training organised by the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (Gamcotrap) in partnership with UNFPA through the National Youth Council (NYC), drawned 100 participants in the district, and aimed to promote traditional practices, family life eduation, reproductive and HIV/AIDS prevention as well as women’s and children’s right issuses.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr Isatou Touray, executive director of Gamcotrap, called on the youths to ensure that their sisters and daughters will be protected from FGM. She highlighted the health comlications of FGM and early pregnancy and noted that the future direction is to invest in young people to bring about change..
Dr Touray said the UNFPA’s current programme intervention is based on the outcome of the global consultation, which she said viewed the youth as a critical target in ending FGM in one generation. She hailed the UNFPA for supporting the advocacy work of her organisation.
Amie Bojang-Sissoho, Programme Coordinator of Gamcotrap, informed participants that traditions are not static, that they change according to time with the discovery of knowledge and information that serve as empirical evidence for people to resort to positive change. She called on the youths to come together and dialogue on the issues with their parents and families about the effects and consequences of all forms of gender based violence and traditional practices.
For her part, Ms Hoja Ndow, UNFPA’s administrative Secretary at the National Youth Council, commended Gamcotrap for making the program a possibility and applauded the youths for responding to such an important call. She cited the UNFPA/NYC partnership with Gamcotrap as a fruitful one meant to reach adolecents and youths with the right information on various issues relating to gender based violence and other harmful traditional practices including FGM as well as early and forced marriages.
Imam Baba Leigh, religious adviser discussed the religious dimensions to gender based violence and FGM. He shared the islamic perspective on gender based violence as well as clarified some religious misinterpretations towards the continuation of FGM.
For his part, Mr Omar Dibba, Assistant Youth Project Coordinator of Gamcotrap hailed the UNFPA and the National Youth Council for the support provided. He noted that dealing with young people in the area of harmful traditional practices is essential to ensure lasting change in the near future. Mr Dibba called on the youths to spearhead the campaign on zero tolerance to FGM with the view to protect the girl child from the practice through dialogue.
Ousman Jammeh, a Gamcotrap community based facilitator in Kombo South called on the youths to participate fully in the process. He described the program as an opportunity for the youths of the district to look into issues affecting their lives, in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as harmful traditional practices.
Author: by Mariatou Ngum-Saidy