The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), on Saturday 23rd February, organised a day’s training and sensitization workshop for the media fraternity in the Gambia. The objective of the workshop was to capacitize the media on how to sensitise the general populace on Female genital mutilation. The workshop brought together Senior Journalists and editors from both the electronic and print media.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Bijou Peters, a veteran journalist, described how important and powerful the media would be in fighting against FGM and harmful practices. She stated that through the commitment of the media the goals of GAMCOTRAP would be well realised by the entire populace. She urged the media to engage themselves in the fight against F.G.M and women’s rights.
For her part, Dr Isatou Touray, described how the media is a stakeholder in their fight against FGM and women’s rights. She dilated on the concept of advocacy, that the media has a significant role in informing the masses at the grass roots level. She indicated that it would be very vital for the media to be involved in grass roots advocacy and to serve as the voice of the voiceless. She pointed out the need for the media to be knowledgeable about F.G.M so as to disseminate correct scientific information, noting that media commitment is very significant before it can be an advocate. She stated that the media can play a role in enhancing the implementation of laws, regulations policies and programmes.
Mrs. Amie Bojang Sissoho, underscored the need for the involvement of the media in the fight against. F.G.M. She stated that GAMCOTRAP alone cannot do the work that they deem it necessary for the media to participate and be fully involved in the struggle against F.G.M practice.
Mrs. Bojang Sissoho added that the media should now adopt using the word ‘mutilation’ instead of cutting. She noted that the media has a great influence over the population; that their involvement would be well received by the people from both sectors of public work and society.
Journalist Sarata Jabbi Dibba and Fatou Jobe from The Point newspaper and GRTS respectively, who attended a regional workshop in Addis Ababa, on African media and the role of women in eradicating harmful traditions in Africa, also gave presentations from the workshop in Ethiopia.
At the end of the day, cross cutting issues were discussed between the media practitioners, who later submitted recommendations to GAMCOTRAP. The media also pledged to work hand in glove with GAMCOTRAP by coming together to form a network of journalists against F.G.M. A video documentary was also viewed by the participants, which highlighted the negative impact F.G.M has on people who practiced it.
Source: All Africa – 28 February 2008