Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Security Officers Honed on Gender Based Violence, Harmful Traditional Practices

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) Over sixty security personnel from the Armed Forces, Police and Immigration recently completed training on gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices at Pakalinding Lodge in the Lower River Region.

The training, organised by the Gambia Committee Against Harmful Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP) was aimed at empowering the security officers to make personal commitments to protect their own daughters and share the knowledge gained with their colleagues at professional level.

The Governor of Lower River Region, Lamin Waa Juwara commended GAMCOTRAP for tirelessly battling with the minds of the people to raise their consciousness on the effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

Mr. Juwara expresses his personal commitment to stop FGM in his family, while appealing to the people of his region to stop the practice. He called for support to the local Community radio in Soma to reach out to the masses and educate them about the effects of female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices.

The Chief of Jarra West, Yaya Jarjusey, noted the importance of the strategy GAMCOTRAP has undertaken and reiterated the importance of reaching out to all sectors of society; Mr. Jarjusey described the Security Officers as an important target adding that they have a role in the sensitization process.

The Jarra West Chief also appealed for support for alternative sources of income for the ex-circumcisers in order to help them improve their livelihoods and protect girls from FGM.

The Commissioner of Police in Lower River Region, Kemeta Sambou said that the training was an opportunity for the participants to listen and learn and be able to share the knowledge with their colleagues.

The Chairperson of the Mansa Konko Area Council, Mr. Foday Camara said “it is the responsibility of the security personnel to protect everyone particularly women and children and appealed to the government to enact a law against FGM.”

The Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray pointed out the important role the Security Officers play in creating a safe and conducive environment to protect women and girls from all forms of gender-based violence. According to her, the training was the third in a series of outreach programmes to security officers.

“After been trained, the Security Officers recommended that the State should enact a law against FGM, calling for more advocacy work to reach out to the policy makers as well as community outreach programmes,” Dr. Touray said.

She said: “They also called on GAMCOTRAP to use the State radio to reach out to the majority of Gambians.”

In his solidarity statement, the Director of ODAM ONGd, Mr. Alberto Valea, said, “We will continue to support them (GAMCOTRAP) on the campaign against FGM and other forms of gender-based violence in the country.” At the end of the training he urged them to reflect on any decision they take because it would
either be part of the problem or be part of the solution. The most important thing to remember, Mr. Valea said, is that they have a huge responsibility in decision making noting that any decision made by them will have a reflection in society.

The Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Anthony Corea at the Lower River Region acknowledged that they have been empowered with knowledge that will enable them to join the campaign. He advised his colleagues to disseminate information on FGM and Gender-Based Violence to their various units and to contribute to change and give humanity chance.

Jawando Jallow, a participant from the Second Infantry Battalion said the training demonstrated the fact that education does not only stop at the four corners of a classroom. He therefore thanked ODAM ONGd for the support and GAMCOTRAP for the facilitation. VOL:2 ISSN:149

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