Women's Bantabaa aspiration is always to tell a story that has never been told and bring a story to public that are always waving the flag of freedom yet standby silently with the concerning situation of the people, their narratives, their perspectives, their understanding of the world around them, without feeling that they are constantly defending their religious and cultural identity.
Friday, April 12, 2013
It’s All Tradition to Me
30 women circumcisers have vowed to stop Female
Genital Mutilation (FGM). So, has Gamcotrap’s campaign
to eradicate this deep-seated
cultural practice been a success so far? Binta A Bah reports
The Gambia has ratified and signed international and
regional instruments on all forms
of harmful traditional practices such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination
Against Women or CEDAW as well as enactment of local laws to promote
and protect the rights of women and children.For example, the Children’s Act and the Women’s Act call for protection
of children from harmful traditional practices as well as educating the
population on the effects of harmful traditional practices on reproductive
health in particular.
the Women’s Act has failed
to spell out female genital mutilation which is regarded as violence against
women, violates their rights and affects their health in numerous ways.
Section 21 of the Women’s Act 2010 specifically
guarantees women the right to protection of health and safety including the
safeguarding of the function of their reproductive health but how effective is
this? With virtually no law in place to prohibit the practice in the country,
it seems hard to stop the practice in a short period.
decades ago, the issue of FGM was regarded by many as a taboo to be talked
about in public or discussed. But tomorrow, 13th
April 2013, 30 women circumcisers will make a public declaration to stop FGM in
a ceremony in Wassu, Central River Region. This ‘dropping of the knife’ will be
fourth ceremony of its kind.
As GAMCOTRAP reaches out to more
Communities in the country, more circumcisers are pledging to drop their
is a women’s rights NGO working in the area of women and girls and to stop
harmful practices that affect the lives and circumstances of women and girls
the Gambia.They have been very active
and effective in stopping FGM. And yes, their struggle has led many to drop
The first ever public
declaration of dropping the knife was held in 2007 at the Independence Stadium
in Bakau where eighteen women circumcisers publicly vowed to abandon female
circumcision. This was followed by a bigger one held in the provincial capital
of Upper River Region, Basse, in 2009 where over 60 women circumcisers have
also declared to have stopped the practice.
In 2011, 20 women
circumcisers from 150 communities in Lower River Region publicly vowed toabandon at a ceremony held at Soma. ‘Dropping
the knife’ symbolizes a public declaration of abandonment of the deep-seated cultural
FGM, which has been
scientifically proven unfavorable to the health and wellbeing of women, yet
still widely practiced.
practice which involves the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia
has left many women’s lives miserable according to women’s right activists and
has shown the most common form of genital mutilation performed in The
Gambia is known as the excision, which includes removal of all, or part of the
labia minora, and cutting of the labia majora to create raw surfaces, which are
then stitched or held together in order to form a cover over the vagina
this process, a small hole is left to allow urine and menstrual blood to flow.
In some less conventional forms, less tissue is removed and a larger opening is
Girls and women are being
circumcised on daily basis for different reasons. Many will say it is tradition
while others will say it is religion. But it appears to be linked to traditiona, because there are people who believe the practice is done for reducing the sexual
desire of a woman to avoid promiscuity and purification of women, beliefs
rather than religion.
Some religious leaders in the country
has condemn the practice, that FGM is not a religious obligation (neither Farda
nor Sunnah), and has negative effects on women and girls.
It is estimated that over 130
million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM and 30 million are at
risk. This has become a global problem which requires immediate targeted