30 CIRCUMSERS DECLARED FREE FGM GAMBIA by Sarjo Camara Singateh The Northern part of Central River Region witnessed the dropping of the misfit knife by 30 circumsers who vowed at the historical Wassu, Lower Basic School which is now registered as one of the grounds that has joined the history. This event is the fourth of its kind that through advocacy and awareness creation the practioners of this deeply rooted culture is been publicly abandoned. The circumsers has stated that “never again” to cut a girl child, they vowed to protect the bodily rights of women and girl child. The thirty women vowed to protect the children of the Gambia and the world at large. The event was grace by school children who led procession from the Wassu skills training centre to the lower basic grounds, women’s groups, diplomatic corps, traditional leaders from various districts, youth groups. Before and after statements the event was manned by fanfare and musical jamboree by different musicians like Jaliba Kuyateh, and groups of traditional communicators and kankurang masquerade. Addressing the gathering the Executive Director GAMCOTRAP Dr. Isatou Touray, said Women’s Rights NGO promotes women’s social, political, economic and cultural rights and focuses on sexual and reproductive health rights. she noted that her organization creates awareness on Traditional Practices and aims at the preservation of beneficial practices as well as the elimination of harmful traditional practices that are inimical to the health and wellbeing of women and children, particularly the girl-child. Dr. Isatou Touray recalls that from Banjul to Basse to Soma communities are responding to change and this wave of change has come to CRR. ‘Today we are celebrating a historic moment in a region where in one go more than 300 children are cut in a given district or perhaps by a single circumciser in a given year. This day is not just an event; but it signifies the resolve of a people whose voices we hear today and whose future we celebrate’.

Speaking on behalf of the NGOs Mr. Kebba Barrow of TANGo has stated that this year’s dropping of the Knife, is indeed a Historic moment in the campaign towards the eradication of FGM and other harmful traditional practices against women and girls. The United Nations sometime last year passed a Resolution:-“ENTITLED: - STRENGTHENING THE GLOBAL EFFORT TO ERADICATE FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION” he said in December, 2012, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki —Moon, welcomed the passing of a “Historic” United Nations Resolution calling on all countries to eliminate female genital mutilation adding that the move was an important step towards a World free from Violence against women. He went further to say that “Harmful practices, such as genital Mutilation constitutes a serious threat to the health of Millions of women and girls worldwide and violates their fundamental rights

Other speakers includes Sylvia Chant of London school of economics, said research has shown that still you have many women in UK that has gone through female genital mutilation. she cited a scenario where a eleven year old Gambian child run for help in UK because her sister was taken through the process and she went somewhere to look for protection. Rep of European Union, AGNES guilaud said the initiative taken by the circumcisers to drop the knives is welcome. she noted that t female genital mutilation is a deeply rooted culture in the Gambia but it is harmful and it side effects are numerous., UNFPA – Assistant Country Rep deputized by Mrs Fatou Kinteh who is the project coordinator said female genital mutilation was attributed to religion by some scholars but with the power of research it is clear that it not a religious injunction. She said with the support of her office this day was possible simple the fund the project with education and advocacy this part of the country and the region decided to drop their misfit knives. Governor Ganyi Touray, thank the women’s rights organisation for making this day a success. He urged other activists to emulate GAMCOTRAP. The Imam of Wassu blessed this historical event with prayers.

Topic Leadership


Because women committed themselves to saying no to FGM in the Gambia, the next generation of girl children will not suffer through the spirit-maiming ritual anymore. Congratulations!

Blessings, libudsuroy

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

with the support from UNFPA-country office and the Gambia Committee on traditional practices and promoting children's right did a lot of work to educate these women on the side effects and the dangers of female genital mutilation.


This is a great achievement for the women's empowerment movement. I am so glad we are stepping closer to our goal of eradicating FGM.


Monica i wanted to reply to you earlier but due to connectivity problems. It seems you were on the ground, it was a taboo in the Gambia to talk about FGM but now with massive education by women groups especially the ones who did the dropping of the knife spearheads the whole success.


It warms my heart to know that so many young girls in that region will grow up healthy and educated on this violent practice. In turn, they will not impose it upon their daughters and the cycle will slowly come to an end. This is a huge step in eradicating this practice that has no practical or health value. Thank you for sharing the news with us.


Rahmana Karuna, Dance leader for DancesofUniversalPeace, Nurse Practitioner Midwife evolved to Spiritual Midwife, Arvigo Therapy, Walking the Sufi path of Hazrat Inayat Kahn lineage, a path of the heart

as you may read in the story it attracted a lot of people to answer to the call of this powerful women in the Central River Region north almost some 300km away from the southern bank to the city Banjul.


are the stories like these where the cutters are laying down their sharp implements. wish the surgeons would do that here instead of flaying women open to get their babies out. vaginas are for conceiving and birthing babies. not cut open from above-the womb. and in countries where women walk hours and days to get to a hospital for her labor after a surgical birth. what a shame.

Rahmana Karuna, Dance leader for DancesofUniversalPeace, Nurse Practitioner Midwife evolved to Spiritual Midwife, Arvigo Therapy, Walking the Sufi path of Hazrat Inayat Kahn lineage, a path of the heart

Hopefully the rest of the circumcisers will drop their knives. This is great news! Big changes start with steps like these! I am very happy that this practice is nearing its end. It is a horrendous and cruel one, and people should know the difference between good cultural practices and ones that put women's lives and health in danger.


It is not going to be an easy battle for all of them to drop their knives but as some of the advocates are doing they target region by region, like from a cluster, to district to region.

this is the strategy they used to enforce when doing advocacy.


This is really good news...a great sign that the future is bright for girls. May more drop their knives! Thank you for sharing this story!


My pen speaks

mutilating a young girl in the name of saving her virginity or as many may call is a right to passage. in which way can this help. Did female genital mutilation has anything to do with behavior?


Thank you, Sarjo, for writing this important piece. It's heartwarming to read that 30 circumcisers realized the harm that they were inflicting on young girls and women and made a vow to protect them thanks to the tireless efforts of NGOS and women's rights groups. This goes to show that change is possible if we all work together as a community to fight against a practice that is completely unnecessary and extremely harmful. Hopefully, this movement will continue to spread and will encourage more circumcisers to put down their knives and speak out against the risks of FGM. Thank you! Lea

When I read "‘ more than 300 children are cut in a given district or perhaps by a single circumciser in a given year. " by blood curled. I CANNOT understand how anyone could authorize, commit, watch such a heinous crime. I support you and encourage to keep working at this. This is a grave injustice to little girls out there who don't even know what a libido is. Indeed, all girls should given the right, not only to experience their sexuality normally, but also to experience the natural development of their bodies, their sexual organs included.

Best, Anna