Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Teachers Resolved to Join in the Fight against FGM

Dr. Isatou Touray

After concluding a day training on Monday, teachers has resolved to join, GAMCOTRAP, a women’s rights advocacy group to educated children on the effects of FGM.
The event brought together 25 from various schools in the West Coast Region. The project, from a health-based to a right-based approach fighting against Female Genital Mutilation seeks to introduced module on FGM and child’s rights for grade 4-9 basic and secondary education sector hopefully next year . It is funded by Save the Children International.
The modules on FGM are meant to contribute to efforts by the education sector to promote gender equality and development as part of overall policy to promote girls’ education.
Gamcotrap, have over the years been very active and effective in the promotion of women and children’s rights. Gamcotrap's agenda is to end discriminatory practices like FGM and early marriage and ha trained hundreds of teachers over the years.
 Prior to the training, majority of the teachers admitted that they are not aware that the Gambia is a signatory to the Maputo protocol, convention of the right of the child and the CEDAW.
Gamcotrap has signed a MOU with Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, (MoBSE) in 2007 and renewed it in 2009.

“Society has a high trust to teachers and you should not fail them which is leaving you to a bigger responsibility” principal officer responsible for in-service education, MoBSE said. “If you don’t want to embrace yourself, your country, then research” Momodou Jeng added.
He emphasizes of responsibilities of teachers not only to informed and educates children but also to help them making their own decision. “If people don’t believe FGM is not a religious issue, which is a fact, we should not allow our children to fall into this trap” he said.
He however, urged Gamcotrap to have many kind of this follow up and training. “You must be well equipped to be able to champion issues like FGM” he added
There is no specific law banning FGM in The Gambia, even though Gamcotrap have over the years engaged and trained law-makers on the effects of FGM.
The Director of GAMCOTRAP Dr Istou Touray said the resistance of change has been an obstacle that has continues to affect the lives of girls and women.  “We have to raise our voices and embrace the fundamental; rights of equality and justice’ she said.
She went on: “stand up and challenge the injustice put on girls and women for a health and better world.”
The position of the Islamic Supreme Council in the Gambia is sitting on the fence. However, Gamcotrap response using religious argument, believed that FGM is not in the Quran and it is not a religious obligation.
Amie Bojang-Sissoho who made analysis of the argument used by the religious leaders told participants, “if you cut the hair, it will grow but if you cut the clitoris it will never grow.”
“Let us not hide behind Islam to deprive women of their rights” she said.
At the end of the training, teachers agreed that it’s not an Islamic conjuction and should be stop to save the life of the girl child. Some also assured Gamcotrap that they will formed anti-FGM club in their schools to help in the eradication of FGM.
Gamcotrap’s struggle led to the first ever public declaration of dropping the knife held in 2007 at the Independence Stadium in Bakau where eighteen women circumcisers publicly vowed to abandon female circumcision. A bigger one was 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. This was followed by third and fourth held in Soma and Wassu.
Author: Binta A Bah

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