By Binta A Bah
Module on FGM and child’s rights for grade 4-9 basic and secondary education sector will be introduce hopefully next year, GAMCOTRAP, a women’s rights advocacy group said on Monday.
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.
This was said by the executive director of GAMCOTRAP Dr Istou Touray, at day training for teachers, who all resolved to join and educated children on the effects of FGM at the Regional education in Brikama.
The event brought together 25 teachers 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 introduce module on FGM and child’s rights for grade 4-9 basic and secondary education sector. It is funded by Save the Children International.
“these modules, which focus on various aspects of FGM, contribute to education in basic and secondary schools, aim to support systemic and effective human rights learning for all young people” Dr. Touray stated.
She added: “Stand up and challenge the injustice put on girls and women for a healthy and better world. We have to raise our voices and embrace the fundamental; rights of equality and justice.”
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.
Gamcotrap has signed a MOU with Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, (MoBSE) in 2007 and renewed it in 2009, and has trained hundreds of teachers over the years.
“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 said.
He emphasizes of responsibilities of teachers not only to inform and educates children but also to help them make 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 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 conjunction and should be stop to save the life of the girl child. Some also assured Gamcotrap that they will form 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.