By Halimatou Ceesay
The National Coordinator of Network against Gender Based Violence (NGBV), Haddy Mboge-Barrow, has disclosed that a major issue holding back the campaign against FGM in The Gambia has been the lack of research into the effects of FGM on women, especially during child birth.
She added that it was in the light of this state of affairs that her organization conducted research on the practice, noting that the importance of a research to produce evidence for the effects of FGM could not be overstated. “Most of the evidence we use are done in other countries. We know that Wassu Kafo has done some research but the Network decides to do full-fledged research to know the outcomes of FGM and the impact it has on pregnant women, particularly during child birth,” she said, adding that NGBV’s research has clearly shown evidence of link between FGM and complications during child birth. She noted that these complications impact both mothers and babies.
Mrs. Mboge-Barrow was speaking at an event organized to evaluate a report on the project ‘strengthening the capacity of NGBV to advocate for the eradication of FGM in Gambia,’ which she said was funded by Amplify Change through ActionAid International The Gambia.
She further stated that the research has also revealed that different the types of FGM have been practised, type 2 being the most common while types 3 and 4 are also carried out.
She said that the research was conducted in four hospitals, namely Bansang, Jammeh Foundation, Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, and Brikama Hospital, noting that the cases of over 1700 pregnant women were studied. She said the research also found that the seriousness of the complications depended on the type of FGM a woman underwent.
Also speaking at the occasion Fanta Jatta-Sowe,Women’s Right Program Specialist at ActionAid The Gambia, said the project is a two-year project that was conceived and developed by Actionaid International The Gambia in collaboration with the Network against Gender Based Violence.
Mrs. Jatta-Sowe stated that Amplify Change granted a 347, 299 euros funding two years ago with the intention of strengthening the “capacity of Network against Gender Based Violence to fight against Gender Based violence particularly FGM/C aimed at furthering Women SexualReproductive Health and Rights.”
She also underlined the importance of the project, noting that the Network is working tirelessly to eradicate violence against women. “The funding is an opportunity to make sure that we further the work of the Network against Gender Based Violence. It is mainly aimed at building their capacity so that they are able to put in place sustainable systems and processes that can enable them to work against GBV even after the project.”
She added that they have done a series of capacity building including putting in place systems such as financial systems, procedures and policies that can make them more sustainable and make them stronger for other donors to have confidence in them enough to give them funds to work on violence against women and girls. She said as a result of the Capacity assessment that was done a year ago, they have done training on advocacy, communications, finance etc.