Students Speak Out on FGM asking for Security, The Gambia

Students Speak Out on FGM asking for Security, The Gambia

By Awa Bah,

My project was mainly designed to engage students from grade six to grade nine. I hosted a live students forum from Charles Jaw memorial academy on the Day of the African child. Our topic of discussion was centered on issues affecting our lives as African children. FGM was central in our discussion.

Media activities:

A round table Bantaba discussion by the same panel of students was held. This platform was meant to hold our government and stakeholders accountable.

A session of questions and answers was also held. Students were used as tools to advocate and sensitize peers on FGM, child abuse, security of students, students dating students, etc.

Estimated reach:

Over Thirty-four thousand followers, Voice Out Digital was my main platform during the implementation of this project.

How successful was the media project?

The implementation of this project was excellent because it avails students as African children to voice out on their own issues affecting them. It was a very interactive platform for some of them as this was their best opportunity to speak. Issues relevant to the day were raised by students.

An example was a student calling on the government, security, and all stakeholders to provide them with security.

This came because of the current state of insecurity in the Gambia. Some of them are not comfortable going to school alone. They noted that some of their peers were once kidnapped, raped, or killed on their way to or from school. An example was the late Marie Mendy, a grade 12 student of St Peters who was brutally murdered in cold blood. They also pointed out missing students every day.

“Students are being killed every day and we are afraid to go to school because we travel to school, the government should give us security,”.

Student

They were also able to identify some of the strategies parents used to cut their girl child. That is to take her to her aunty for holidays while the motive was to subject her to FGMC.

“Parents will always take their daughters to their aunties for circumcision in the name of the holiday,”.

Student

Strong messages:

They laid a very strong message on FGMC and child-related issues. Some of them promised to take action from their parents if they practiced FGMC. Stakeholders were like the president, IGP, and security were asked to provide security to students.

They applauded the summer classes as they have the chance to get engaged more at school rather than in the hands of their aunties and uncles who always abuse them on holidays. They called for more of these students’ engagements because it allows them to keep busy and avoid FGM.

Next time:

We will design a platform that will bring together stakeholders like the parents, security, teachers, students, human rights advocates, etc.

Ruth Harley

Ruth Harley is an opera singer, writer, and creative. She is running The Women’s Vinyl Project which empowers women and girls through singing and music. She is working with GMC as the Website News Editor, compiling stories written by End FGM campaigners working with the Global Media Campaign to End FGM across Africa.