Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jarra West Chief Confident Circumcisers ‘Will Stick By Their Decision’
The Chief of Jarra West Alhagie Yahya Jarjusey says he is doubtless the 20 Female Circumcisers who agreed to stop the act of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) will stand by their words.
On July 9, 20 women from Six districts, namely: the three Kiangs, West, East and Central and the three Jarras, West, East and Central of the Lower River Region (LRR) declared publicly that they have put an end to the practice of FGM.
The event, dubbed the “3rd Dropping of the Knife”, followed numerous efforts by the Gambia Committee Against Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), to convince the women that FGM was harmful to the health of women and children.
Speaking to The Voice in Soma, where the event was held, Mr Jarjusey said: “I believe in women because whatever they say they’ll do, they will do it.” 
“I believe that the women of this region will drop the knife. We all know that the health of our children is very important to us as parents.  So anything affecting them will affect us too,” he said.
He stressed that it is not just enough to say we have dropped our knives. “We should stop the practice and help shape a better future for our children,” he said.       
He noted that the Lower River Region joined other regions to drop the knife because they have undergone a series of trainings and have been educated on the harmfulness of FGM.
The 20 women took an oath, saying: “We the circumcisers representing our cluster villages in LOWER RIVER REGION of The Gambia; here present today (July 9) in JARRA SOMA; solemnly declare to the world in particular The Gambia that we have stopped the practice of Female Genital Mutilation in our communities.
We have over the years received information through the Training and Advocacy works of GAMCOTRAP in partnership with ODAM.”
Dr Isatou Touray is the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP. Speaking at the occasion, she described the six districts coming together as a “signs of unity”. The dropping of the knife is the first in the region and she believes that “change is certainly possible.”
“Over the years that we have worked in LRR, the people have responded well to the efforts of making FGM no more a taboo since it is now subjected to debate amongst different sectors of the community,” she said.
GAMCOTRAP successfully convinced 18 Female Circumcisers from 63 communities in the Greater Banjul Area to drop the knife in 2007; this was followed by a bigger achievement in 2009 when 60 Female Circumcisers from 351 communities in the Upper River Region (URR) of The Gambia dropped the knife.

President Jammeh
Jammeh: $18M Project to enhance food security and reduce poverty
The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has said an $18 million Community-based Infrastructure and Livelihood Improvement Project (CILIP) will contribute positively to enhance food security and a significant reduction in poverty.
That is when the project is “properly implemented” he said in a statement read on his behalf by the Vice President Madam Isatou Njie-Saidy on Monday, during the officially launching of the CILIP at a local hotel in Kololi.
The four year project is financed by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in the form of a loan of US$15.86 million and a Technical Assistance Grant of US$400,000. The Government of The Gambia is to contribute US$ 880,000, (five percent), and Local Councils and Subproject beneficiaries also contributing an equal five percent (-US$880,000), to meet a total cost of  US$18.02 million.
The project under the management of GAMWORKS, a government real estate agency, is aimed at financing demand-driven community infrastructure and livelihood activities; developing, strengthening and synergizing pro-poor local groups; and enhancing skills and capacities for the poor, especially the vulnerable groups, including women.
An initial target of 200 settlements has been projected and it is anticipated that at least 78,000 households and an estimated 468,000 people will benefit directly from the project, which will cover all the regions of The Gambia with a focus on the peri-urban areas.
“This project is a people-centered intervention that is reflective of our national priorities as encapsulated in our Vision 2020 and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) and which will significantly compliment my government’s development agenda,” President Jammeh said.
“We do realize that the challenges of development cannot be fully addressed by the Government alone but require collective effort involving the entire population particularly the youths as well as support of friendly countries and institutions.”
Mr. Ebrima Cham, the Director General GAMWORKS explains that the project will be executed by the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, while the daily management and implementation will be taken care of by GAMWORKS.
This, he said, is as a result of the Agency’s track record and expertise in the successful implementation of development projects it has been awarded. Since establishment, GAMWORKS has been involved in the building of infrastructures such as roads, markets, car parks, water supply, drainage systems, and sanitation facilities for municipalities, local councils and communities. The agency has also build schools, health centres, amongst others.
GAMWORKS have recently concluded the implementation of an IDB-sponsored Westfield-Sukuta Road Project.
IDB Representative Mayoro Nyang noted that The Gambia joined the IDB Group on August 12, 1983, and as of the July 31, 2011, IDB’s cumulative financing of operation in the country amounted to approximately D90 million (US$122.84 million).
According to him, the sectoral distribution of these operations includes 36 percent public utilities; 26 percent transport, communication and storage; 24 percent social service; and 13 percent agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
Mr Nyang noted that they’ve learned from previous interventions in community driven development (CDD), which reflected in the design of the CILIP include better poverty targeting; increased community ownership leading to improved sustainability of investments; lower cost and good quality infrastructure, high economic returns; and high inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized groups.

*      SOURCE: The Voice Newspaper

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