By Sailu Bah & Sarjo Camara
A Multimedia campaign was Friday launched by a leading British Media outlet
in the Gambia to end Female Genital Mutilation in the Gambia. This
event was held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel, Friday 30 January 2015.The occasion was attended by Media personnel from both Print and
Electronic, Activists, The Guardian media representatives and a UNFPA
Speaking at the occasion Maggie O’Kane Guardian Media Coordinator
underscored the importance of media in the fight against FGM.
Madam Kane further said that Media can help in being part of the
campaigners to help the information reach where it should reach.
She said over the past year, the Guardian has used its international
media reputation to campaign along with key progressive African media
and political leaders to end Female Genital Mutilation.
“Our media partners in African countries such as Gambia and Kenya
have led the way. Three months ago we joined with Kenyan media to
work with their guidance, to support media houses and politicians who
were speaking out against FGM. This followed on from work with
progressive media in the US and the UK who have campaigned
successfully with the British and the US governments to educate
schoolchildren about FGM,” said Maggie O’Kane Guardian Media
She said In Africa, they are focusing on Gambia, where the Safe
Hands for Girls charity has pioneered new ways of working towards an
end to FGM.
Adding that The Gambia model focuses on campaigners travelling around
the country educating people about the dangers of FGM and the negative
impact it has on the lives of young women.
She further explained that The Gambian model could be a prototype for
other African countries.
“It is pioneered by Gambian campaigner Jaha Dukureh and is supported
by the international Girl Generation movement against FGM. Jaha’s work
has been endorsed by the United Nations secretary-general, Ban
Ki-moon, who told the Guardian in a recent interview: What Jaha
Dukureh is doing in Gambia is an inspiration to all of Africa. I will
do all I can to help her struggle and commit the UN to supporting her
pioneering work in Gambia,” she explained.
She revealed that Mr Ki-moon has invited Jaha to meet him next month
in New York to discuss how the UN can help expand the Gambian model
She said her media is here to support the Gambia model – and along
with the UN and Ban Ki-moon to hear from the Gambian government, the
media and activists how best to learn from it.
She also challenged Gambian media to be part of the campaign. She
pledges on behalf of her media that, her media will give a cash
prize of D80,000 to the best reporter. Media houses both electronic
and the print media will also be given an award for the best in their
involvement in the fight against FGM.
Marie Jaha Dukureh Executive Director Safe Hands For girls stated the
importance of fighting against FGM. She also explained the
difficulties she faces when she started the fight, and how she got discouraged
but later decided to move on with the fight. She said now she has
achieved a lot in it. She also underscored the dangers of FGM which
she said can cause harmful health complications.
Haruna Drammeh Proprietor of Paradise FM, thanked the Guardian for
their good initiative. He said The Guardian is not only focusing on
reporting but investing their resources to join the fight against
FGM in the whole world particularly in Africa.
He reaffirmed his support and commitment to this fight and promised to
do his best in the dissemination of the issue of FGM.
By Sailu Bah & Sarjo Camara