By Ndey Sowe
“Safe Hands for Girls” which is a local NGO, on Wednesday February 6th 2019, commemorated International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in Bijilo.
The NGO has celebrated the day with the screening of the documentary of their Executive Director Jaha Dukureh. The documentary dubbed “Jaha’s Promise”, depicts the life and activism of Jaha Dukureh. Jaha is a Gambian anti-FGM campaigner and is against other harmful traditional practices such as child marriage.
According to officials of the NGO, this is the first private screening of ‘Jaha’s Promise’ in the Gambia.
The NGO is dedicated to helping women and girls who have gone through FGM or are at risk of going through the practice, and works towards the fulfillment of the UN Convention on the rights of the child.
Shortly after the screening, Ms. Jaha Dukureh said their mission is to eradicate FGM and all other forms of gender based violence through awareness raising, advocacy, youth education and community outreach; that through her work, Jaha has directly saved more than 100 girls from this harmful practice, and has been instrumental in the creation of the “Girls Protection Act of 2010”, which criminalizes the transport of US girls abroad, for FGM.
“My 2014 change.org petition, collected more than 220,000 signatures, resulting in the Obama administration’s directing of the CDC to investigate FGM prevalence in the United States,” she said; that her intention is to continue her work until the practice is completely eliminated.
She said the leadership of the country should come out and make it clear that Gambia has a Law against FGM, and that anyone found guilty should be subjected to the Law.
She averred that what they are calling for, is for the Gambia and every other country in the world, to have zero tolerance on FGM.
“The current position in the Gambia is that we have a Law under the previous administration, and I think this new administration is not doing enough when it comes to FGM. I think that Government has the responsibility to protect the citizenry,” she asserted.
She said the law on FGM was passed and enacted by parliament, and it should be respected by all.
She urged parents and communities to give them the chance and understanding to sensitize and educate them about the dangers and effects of FGM.
“I believe that Gambia can end FGM before 2030. In my opinion, Gambia should be used as an example to the rest of the world, so that they will see how ending this harmful practice is done,” she concludes.