The United Nations Population Fund is supporting The Gambia’s Women’s Bureau in its anti-FGM advocacy program for stakeholders in regions across the country. The program was jumpstarted last week in the central Gambia.
The Gambia in November last year banned female genital cutting with penalties of up to life in prison but anti-FGM campaigners while welcoming the new law said the practice is so deeply rooted it may go underground. The sounded the call for increased advocacy about the new law and about the practice itself.
At least two women have so far being charged by Gambian authorities after a young girl in the Kiang region. State prosecutors are asking for a life sentence.
The United Nation said the ban begins a pivotal era in the life of Gambian women.
A UNFPA and Unicef program allowed for the sensitization and training of traditional and religious leaders, men, women, children, policy makers, law enforcement agents and circumcisers on the health and human rights effects of FGM.
Many young girls have joined the campaign and the use of social media has become instrumental. The Gambia, where more than 70% of women have gone through female circumcision became the 27th Sub-Saharan African nation to criminalize the practice.