Monday, February 4, 2013

Gambians Rising on International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

Gamcotrap's Executive Director

This year V- Day is supporting GAMCOTRAP to reach out to Community and Opinion leaders in the Kanifing Municipality on February 6th. This is part of the worldwide movement led by Eve Ensler to say No to Violence Against Women and to bring attention to the one billion women who suffer different forms of violence. Zero Tolerance this year will be a prelude to V-Day on the 14th February 2013 when One Billion women and men will be rising as survivors of violence who have taken the courage to say No to Violence Against Women.

A good initiative can be a dream of one person that can be realized by millions around the world. On February 6, 2003, the First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, was amongst delegates to a conference organized by the Inter African Committee on Traditional Practices. She made the official declaration on "Zero Tolerance to FGM" in Africa.

Subsequently, the 6th of February was adopted by the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM, and this day is celebrated around the world as recognition of the need to protect girls and women from the practice.

Increasingly, the world is acknowledging the harm Female Genital Mutilation does to girl children and women. The United Nations continues to respond to the call for the protection of girls and women from FGM. Its member countries have recently passed the UN Resolution on the global Ban on FGM. The theme this year is: Translate the Resolution "Intensifying the Global Efforts in the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, into concrete action in order to accelerate the objective of Zero Tolerance to FGM.

The call for raising consciousness and legislation as enshrined in Article 5 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa is taking root. On the 10th January 2013, over 260 delegates from all the regions of the Gambia, Institutions and organizations also agreed to the legislation on a proposed law to Prohibit FGM in the Gambia. A Communiqué was signed by representatives of delegates to that effect. This is a giant step in amplifying the voices of grassroots communities in saying no to FGM and the need to protect girls and women from the impact of the practice on them.

To celebrate International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM, GAMCOTRAP is "localizing the global efforts to eliminate FGM" in four Cluster Areas in the Kanifing Municipality. This is a prelude to the One Billion Rising to say No to Violence Against Women on the 14th February 2013. Participants are expected to participate in this year’s celebration with an overview of the efforts at the national level from community mobilization to the advocacy for a law to protect girls and women from FGM. They will be sensitized on the global and local efforts to reach out to communities and institutions to take responsibility to protect girls from the practice. FGM is one of the many forms of violence meted on girls and women in the name of culture.

The localizing of global efforts is bearing fruit with the systematic engagement of communities and institutions. It is on record that from 2004 to 2011, GAMCOTRAP has directly reached almost thirteen thousand people through training, sensitization and advocacy activities. Almost a hundred Circumcisers have made public declaration in three events of the Dropping of the Knife Celebrations between 2007 and 2011.

Ever since, GAMCOTRAP has taken leadership to commemorate International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation annually to raise awareness about this practice. From 2008 to date it has been celebrated in Basse, Barra, and the Greater Banjul Area, and women and young people have been the primary targets.

On the 14th February 2013, GAMCOTRAP will organize two separate events, one with young people in the Kanifing Municipality and another one with rural women in Soma in the Lower River Region of the Gambia. The Youths will have a march pass, symposium and celebrate with music and dancing.

On the eve, 13th February, 2013, GAMCOTRAP will have a panel discussion and phone-in on Violence Against Women on Soma Community Radio. Also songs on FGM by the Sangkalangba women’s group will be launched as part of the One Billion Rising with statements on the campaign to say No to Violence Against women, amidst singing and dancing at Soma.

Let us Dance! Sing! and Rise to end Violence Against Women and celebrate our courage to do so.



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