A public pledge to end Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting in Gambia

Linked with Inter-African Committee (IAC) on Traditional Practices, and with .

Published on UNICEF, by Alison Parker, 22 June 2009.

… The festive atmosphere in this village in the Upper River Region was reminiscent of a wedding. But the singing and dancing was, in fact, part of celebration at which 24 neighbouring villages publicly declared the end of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) practises in their communities.

Kobaie Nyabaly a former FGM/C practitioner walked briskly to the podium and boldly gave her testimony before the crowd of more than 600 onlookers, including religious leaders, village chiefs, and youth groups …

…  Harmful tradition: 

FGM/C is practiced in about 28 countries in Africa and Western Asia. Gambia is among the worst offenders, with a 78 per cent practice rate among women 15 – 49 years. The practice rate is even higher in the Upper River Region.

FGM/C has been linked to serious physical and mental health risks for girls and women –  including complications at child birth, maternal deaths, infertility, urinary incontinence, infection and tetanus, amongst others.

The 2005 Children’s Act provides a legal frame work to address harmful traditional practices such as early marriage and FGM/C. But the persistence of the practice and the cultural sensitivities surrounding the tradition makes dialogue, evidence-based advocacy and community empowerment the best interventions … (full text).

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