By Ndey Sowe
The Minster for Gender, Children and Social Welfare for The Gambia has on Tuesday, 9th February, 2021 taken part in the commemoration of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Fatou Kinteh said the Gambia has come a very long way, saying 36 years ago in 1985, FGM was a taboo to discuss in public. But now, she said FGM can be discussed in all platforms.
“We will not be complacent. We will intensify our efforts leaving no stone unturned,” the minister said, while urging the public to call the toll-free number 199 and 133 to report cases of FGM in The Gambia.
This year, the Ministry in collaboration with its partners joined the world to celebrate the day.
UNFPA and UNICEF are calling for unified voice and action from multi-level, multi sector stakeholders, increased funding to sustain mass mobilization and actions on commitments. The international agencies are also calling for urgent and decisive action to ensure that years of progress, is not unraveled by the on-going pandemic.
The event was presided over by the Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray, the UN Systems in The Gambia, amongst other relevant partners under the theme: “No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to End FGM Now.”
February 6th marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the commemoration of the day marks a significant moment as the world recognizes that FGM is truly a universal issue.
More than 140 million girls and women throughout the world have undergone FGM.
There is growing evidence that FGM is practise in The Gambia and according to DHS 2018 published by the Gambia Bureau of Statistics, 75 percent of Gambian women aged 15-49 have undergone FGM.
Dea Sawaneh, Chairperson for the National Women Council, said fighting FGM requires collective efforts and funds, which will allow them to fight, travel and motivate communities against the practice of FGM.
“A silence law is a useless law,” she stressed. “For how many years this law says FGM is a crime and still no one has been prosecuted.”
Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Gambia, renewed her commitment in the fight against FGM and highlighted that the current government will join hands with NGOs, CSOs and other agencies in the fight to ensure the remaining regions abandon FGM and become agents of change in their communities.
Meanwhile, over the years, The Gambia has registered remarkable progress in eliminating FGM. Between 2010 and 2018, FGM among children 0-4 years old has dropped by 10 per cent to 27 per cent. Huge gains have also been made in changing perceptions with 49 per cent of women now openly saying FGM should stop.