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Published on allAfrica, by Bekai Njie and Alieu Ceesay, 18 January 2011.
Urr — Twenty-seven Fula communities in the Upper River Region (URR), last Sunday abandoned the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other harmful traditional practices at a ceremony held at Sare Alpha Village in Tumana District, URR.
This declaration by the Fula communities came to light following a three-year community empowerment sensitisation programme initiated by Tostan-Unicef on the harmful effects of FGM and its related issues in our societies. The declaration, however, creates platform for people in all walks of life to witness the outstanding achievement registered by Tostan and its partners in empowering communities particularly the young ones, to get educated and subsequently free themselves from some harmful traditional practices; such as FGM and forceful marriages among other things.
Speaking at the ceremony, Alhaji Gabudeh Sissoho, Sare Alpha Village Development Committee chairman, said Tostan has brought a lot of changes in their lives, noting that with Tostan, they were educated on good governance, human rights, negative impacts of FGM, health and hygiene, among other issues. He expressed profound gratitute and thanks to the organisation for transforming their lives … //
… Momodou S. Jallow, deputy governor of URR, on behalf of the governor, thanked Unicef for their support to Tostan in the past years. He expressed delight at the abandonment of FGM in his region especially among the Fula communities, while expresssing hope that the Sarahulehs too will follow suit. He finally urged the Fula communities to keep to their words.
Bakary Tamba, Tostan national coordinator, expressed delight at this great move. According to him, Tostan is not here to fight against any tradition but the harmful ones, which he said includes FGM. He challenged the Fula communities to act on their words and what they have learnt from Tostan in the past years for their own development and progress. (full text).
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