Thursday, 24 Jul 2014
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Written by GAMCOTRAP   
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 13:10





The mass representation of women in ‘Ashobis’ during public gatherings, having the first female Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, a few female cabinet ministers and a few female parliamentarians give an assumption that women are fairly represented in governance and leadership in the Gambia. Thus the question what more do women want? This question tends to silence the critical minds that say “let the figures speak for women”. It is under this backdrop that the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the Health of Women and Children – GAMCOTRAP in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy – NED brought together women and men from different political parties in the Gambia to engage in the discussion the theme: “Women’s participation in Governance and Leadership”. For the first three days, the discussions were held in series of workshops for women from various political parties in the Kanifing Municipality, Kombos of the West Coast Region and Banjul. The fourth day witnessed a consultation with key party representatives from various political parties.

Women participate in governance and leadership workshops

The first elected female politician in the Gambia, Honourable Nyimasatta Sanneh chairing the workshops, said Gambian women cannot continue to rely on the Gambian President’s gesture of nominating women to the National Assembly because the Constitution limits how many he can nominate. She called on both men and women to realise that there is need for more women to be voted so as to have a high representation in the Parliament. Honourable Nyimasatta Sanneh shared her experience during the first regime when she was the only female in parliament and had to talk to only men during her early years. She underscored the importance of the meetings which she noted will increase awareness and empower women will be elected to the National Assembly.

Experts in various fields engage in Women’s Political participation in governance and Leadership

The discussions were led by various experts in their relevant fields, engaged on the legal Context of Women’s Rights to political participation in governance and leadership, Case study on Women’s Political participation, Importance of Women’s Political participation in promotion Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Role of National Council for Civic Education to Promote Women’s Political Participation in Governance and Leadership, Gender Issues in the promotion of Women’s Political Participation in governance and Leadership, Role of Media in the promotion of Women’s Political Participation in Governance and Leadership. The discussions amongst the participants revealed the need for more women representations and spelt out challenges for effective participation of women in governance and leadership. Amongst the issues raised during the three days specifically targeted to women in political parties, was that educated women shy away from partisan politics, women in opposition parties are intimidated by the arrest of opposition militants, limited financial support to effectively engage in raising awareness for women’s effective participation in politics, women lack resources to campaign for election, and limited access to the media among others.

Lawyer Sagarr Jahateh informed the participants that women have the right to participate in politics because of the constitutional provisions, international and regional commitments the Gambia has undertaken to promote women in governance and leadership.

Amie Sillah in her discussion on Women’s Political participation presented facts and figures that indicated that while there is 30% representation in the Cabinet, only 9% of the National Assembly is female and only 5 (representing 0.26 %) of the 1873 village heads (Alkalolu) are women. There is no female chief or governor in the Gambia.

Mary Small noted that awareness on sexual and reproductive health issues is important for representatives to take appropriate legislative measures to safe guard the rights of women and children against practices such as female genital mutilation and early/forced marriage. She enlightened participants on how practices such as FGM, early marriage, rape, sexual abuse undermine the dignity of women and girls in particular.

In her analysis, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray emphasized the importance of women to be educated so as to have them in the top positions where decisions on policy issues are taken such as the National Assembly. She emphasised that women community mobilizers and leaders also have important roles to play in the political arena but should not be deceived that they should vie for Parliamentary seats if they cannot read and write. She noted that the political landscape is not yet enabling for uneducated women to participate effectively and influence positive policies for women in parliament, because the criteria for the different leadership positions in governance are specified in the relevant national documents. These criteria are reverted to when the chips are down despite the fact that these women have been involved in politics and have something to offer. She appreciated the women mobilisers for their strength and powers and told them that “you can influence policy through your support to educated women and men you trust to represent you”. She underscored the relevance of numbers and called on women to recognize their strengths and advocate for their common agenda to increase the number of women in decision making positions. The social perceptions, religious misinterpretations and the economic status promote patriarchal principles that are entrenched in social structures and institutions that hinder women’s effective participation were discussed. She encouraged the women to reflect and analyse their situation and poor status and to make efforts to address them by improving on female representations at all levels of politics and governance.

National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) officer, Mr. Kebba Jobe shared the relevant Constitutional provisions that empowers his office to do Civic education and appreciates the efforts undertaken by GAMCOTRAP to raise more awareness about women’s participation in the political processes. He noted that women have equal rights to participate effectively in politics and called on all the political parties to consider the gender dimensions when selecting representatives in their various structures to increase the number of women in the various structures at all levels. He also called for tolerance, positive attitudes and perceptions towards women so as to encourage them to participation in governance and leadership.

The IEC Coordinator Mrs. Amie Bojang Sissoho, discussed how the media could be used to promote the image of women.

Participants at Consultation meeting at KMC Hall

During the workshop with key political party representatives, it was reiterated that if women are not well represented in decision making positions, there can be no transformation in the political processes. It was noted that women cannot be divided on rural/urban lines but to appreciate the roles of different women with regards to their strength and ability in mobilising for change. It was noted that while all women have a role to play people should recognise and appreciate the comparative advantages they have to make effective change. There was an appeal for relevant institutions and structures to respect the aspiration of women, to improve the number of women in parliament and other decision making positions. The women noted that the under representation of women in Parliament and key decision making positions have resulted to bills or laws prepared to advance the rights of women are subjected to scrutiny resulting to expunging the real essence of the documents.

Hence the need to promote gender equality and get more women into parliament where laws are?? made or passed for national development. Amongst the recommendations made were to have an ‘all parties’ forum for women and to advocate for the UN call for at least the 30% quota systems in their political parties when identifying aspirants for the various elections both at local and national levels. This will be in line with section 15 (1) of the Women’s Act 2010, which calls for temporary special measures in favour of women, “ Every organ, body, public institution, authority or private enterprise shall adopt temporary special measures as set out in this Act aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women.” They called for intensive Civic Education in raising gender consciousness regarding women and leadership through community (“bantaba”) meetings and use of the national media in particular. The important role of the media to promote positive portrayal of women aspirants and politicians as well as gender stereotypes and misconceptions about women taking leadership in public institutions were highlighted, as well as promotion of peace in politics and respect of opposing views. It was stated that having different partisan affiliation is a Constitutional right and should not create enmity amongst women in particular.

That educated women should come out of their comfort zones and present themselves to engage in electoral politics and not wait to be offered positions. All the women noted with appreciation that bringing all the political parties and creating the inter-face between them was towards the right direction in advancing the effective participation of women in governance and leadership positions. They also appreciated the support of the “men who care” and noted that both men and women can be leaders.

Prepared by GAMCORAP

April 2014


Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 13:40
Written by GAMCOTRAP   
Thursday, 19 June 2014 14:45




A Letter to Zai, A Muslim Feminist and Activist

Dear Zainah Anwar,

As you celebrate your birthday in April, allow GAMCOTRAP to seize the opportunity to share your story with the world. It was in 1987 when you and some like-minded people challenged the global perception that Muslim Women cannot enjoy their basic human rights, thus establishing a now well recognized and respected organization Sisters in Islam- SIS. In less than a decade, this influence brought birth to yet another global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family - MUSAWAH. This is important because the dominant perception that the life of Muslim women can only be within the private space yet that space is muzzled with patriarchal interpretations of Islam and control over women. Your leadership has contributed to the struggle in search of the alternative voices for us within and outside of Islam. More Muslim women have gained cognizant that a religion that calls for peace, unity and respect for humanity cannot undermine its own people based on gender or sex.

Your leadership has contributed to challenging the notions of violence against women justified in the name of Islam. Today, MUSAWAH Advocates throughout the world, have learned from your courage and motivation to understand Women’s Rights in Islam from the lived realities of women perspectives as well as contextualized the text within the lived realities of Muslim Women.

Thus, Muslim women today have the ability and courage to question such patriarchal interpretation of Islam. Indeed you were right to say,

It’s as if in Islam, women don’t have any rights at all. One woman asked, if the house were on fire, would she then have to seek her husband’s permission to flee! Women cannot even use their common sense to save their (own) lives. This cannot be Islam. God is just. Islam is just.”

It is not by chance that the French government awards you its highest award, the “Legion of Honour”. It is with pride and indeed real honour that GAMCOTRAP joins the rest of the MUSAWAH advocates to celebrate this award and many of your great achievements in bringing women’s rights in Islam in the forefront of the global debate. You made us realize that we can have it all, be a Muslim, Feminist and Activist at the same time because they are compatible, we don’t have to choose one or the other.

GAMCOTRAP celebrates and congratulate you for boosting the image of all Muslim women. Thank you for everything you have given to humanity and particularly to women.

With Much love,



Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 15:01
Written by GAMCOTRAP   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 09:16





Recognizing Women’s Struggles

International Women’s Day 2014

International Women’s Day has become a day that is recognized by the United Nations through the struggles women have made throughout the world. In the Gambia, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray has been a leading Activist who ensured that women’s issues are in the public domain.   The celebration of special events regarding the lives and circumstances of women are key in the calendar of activists.  Increasing, the agenda to promote and protect the rights of women is geared towards recognition of women as human beings and women’s rights as human rights.  As the world once against engage to recognize and remember the significant roles of women in human development and respect for their rights as citizen, in the Gambia, organization, institutions and the media have engaged to ensure that people continue to recognize, respect and celebrate the women in all works of life.

The voices of Women’s Rights Activists on the themes of International Women’s Day

( L-R) GRTS and Activista interview with Executive Director of Dr. Isatou Touray

It is such a recognition that has warranted the Women’s Programmes on the State Radio and Television Services (GRTS), individual journalists, community and private radios have approached GAMCOTRAP to speak on the theme for celebration of International Women’s Day 2014.  As the United Nations official theme is “Equality for Women is Progress for All.” At the National level, “Progress made in achieving the MDGs” is the focus of the celebration.  It is then fitting for GAMCOTRAP to take the national theme further in reminding the stakeholders that “Having a law to protect girls from FGM is progress for humanity.”   In solidarity, GAMCOTRAP also participated at the Activista Panel on Zero Tolerance to FGM as its theme for celebrating IWD at Star FM radio.  Paradise FM also recognizes the efforts of GAMCOTRAP and sent an invitation to partake in its celebration of IWD 2014 which states “Paradise FM recognises your uncompromising efforts to support women and girls to be the best that they can be, despite the major challenges that they face.

The recognition of the works of women’s rights activist in the Gambia are beyond the borders of the Gambia and it is with pride an honour that as the world celebrates women, His Excellency, the United States Ambassador to the Gambia, Michael Arietti Charge d’Affairs a.i paid a visit to GAMCOTRAP to learn about the work of the organization in promoting and protecting the rights of women and children in the Gambia.   In a meeting with the staff, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP welcomed the Ambassador and briefed him on the successes made in the campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation and how communities and their Circumcisers have responded positively through the dropping of the knife celebrations in the different regions of the Gambia.  Dr. Touray informed the US Ambassador that despite the challenges, more communities are calling for GAMCOTRAP to engage their people as there are some regions that are yet to be reached.  She appealed for support to further consolidate on the gains made.

Ambassador Michael Ariette (3rd Left) and Yusupha Gomez (1st Right) with GAMCOTRAP team

In response, Ambassador Ariette expressed appreciation that communities are responding to protect their girls and women from FGM and other harmful practices that are misconstrued as religion.  He shared his experience in working in other parts of Africa where FGM is practised by non-Muslims and argued that the practice is a deep-rooted practice that pre-dates Islam.  He promised to do his best within his purview to give support to promote human rights of the people.

In another engagement, GAMCOTRAP visited the family of late Ms. Bijou Peters an honorary live board member of GAMCOTRAP at their resident in Fajara to pay condolence to the bereaved family.  One of her daughters Oremie Bidwell received GAMCOTRAP staff and thanked them for the love her mother found in serving the cause which GAMCOTRAP stands for.  This was cited in her tribute as she noted “one of her particular concerns was the work and beliefs of GAMCOTRAP and she joined them in their fight to eradicate harmful traditional practices such as FGM...”   Indeed there is progress, because when GAMCOTRAP started in 1984, FGM was a taboo subject and today, it s subject of debate for all, globally, nationally and locally at household levels where it is being questioned, challenged and people take courage to say “no to FGM, protecting girls from FGM is progress for all.”

In a struggle to serve humanity, there is nothing that is considered minor, because every little step is a way forward to achieve the objective of making progress for women and girls in particular in the campaign to end FGM.  As the search to support can lead to different destinations, this is how Katy Stenhouse could not but depart with her Pound Sterling to contribute to the cause GAMCOTRAP stands for.    In a presentation of the GBP100 on her behalf, Kate Mayall said she was in GAMCOTRAP to deliver a message from Katy and that was to make sure the organization received the token she had.   This was highly welcomed by the Executive Director and her staff and she  said there is nothing that is considered small and it is the thought behind the gesture that is valued, the desire to support a cause, no matter who you are and where you are from, if you respect and honour humanity, you are welcomed.

Kate presenting to GAMCOTRAP

Indeed, it is an honour for the world to remember women but it is more honourable for the world to realize that it is time to stop using women’s bodies as a site for political debates and abuse of power.  In the Gambia, once again, GAMCOTRAP appeals to the government to take the appropriate stand to respond to the calls of communities and citizens of the Gambia to legislate a law to prohibit FGM to save lives and improve on the health and wellbeing of women and girls.  Indeed FGM affects millions of girls and women and everyday Gambian girls and women are equally at risk of FGM.   When the Government realised that smoking affects  health and that putting on a seat belt  is a protective measure for its citizens, there was little debate on whether there should be a law or not.  A decision was taken and the Parliamentarians passed two laws because they know they have responsibility to protect the citizens.  It is therefore a moral obligation for the government and the legislators to take equal responsibility to prohibit FGM by law, because the risk of even one girl- child dying because of FGM is worth the law.  If celebrating International women’s day is to recognize the progress made in achieving the Millennium development goals 3, 4 and 5 having a law against FGM should be an indicator for progress. The global concern of the post 2015 agenda is “To achieve the development goals it is essential that the future development agenda be explicitly shaped by, and grounded in, human rights and environmental sustainability, ensuring gender equality, the realization of women’s rights and women’s empowerment.

Happy International Women’s Day 2014!!!


March 2014


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:42
Written by GAMCOTRAP   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:52






Press Release: One Billion Rising Campaign 2014:

Theme: Rising for Justice to End Gender Based Violence


It is sixteen years ago when the Executive Director of V-Day Eve Ensler started a worldwide movement on the 14th February  to highlight the various forms of violence women and girls face across race, status or geographical location when she wrote the Vagina Monologue, which gave case studies of different forms of violence on women.

V- Day is celebrated on Valentine’s Day to bring focus to all forms of violence such as rape, early marriage, battering,  Female Genital Mutilation, amongst others and to contribute to the global efforts to end these atrocities in every country and community. According to the UN, 1 in 3 women is a victim of one or more forms of violence. The WHO says that violence against women - particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women - are major public health problems and violations of women's human rights.  Recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

It is in this context that V-Day started the one billion rising campaign to present women as survivors of violence and determined to demand for justice to all forms of violence against women based on gender wherever they are situated.  In a tele-conference with journalists worldwide, Eve Ensler described the 2014 One Billion Rising as “powerful revolutionary energy that is rising around the planet and the plans that the people have made in 180 countries in towns, villages and cities is astonishing.  It all started with a vision of how to address the issue of I in 3 women being violated.”

V-Day Coordinator for the One Billion Rising in West Africa, Dr. Isatou Touray is on a tour in the West Africa sub region to visit Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal and the Gambia to organize and coordinate the 2014 One Billion Rising on the 14th February.

In an interview with journalists, Dr. Touray noted that the One Billion Rising Campaign started with the Zero Tolerance to FGM Day on the 6th February through media advocacy.  She highlighted that FGM is wrongly associated with Islam as it continues to affect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.  In her capacity as Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, a leading women’s rights organization in the campaign to end FGM in the Gambia, Dr Touray asserted how women as survivors of FGM and their communities have been empowered to realise that they can end FGM, early marriage and other forms of violence against women by rising and making public declarations marked by the dropping of the knife celebrations.  Dr. Touray appreciates the support of partners who make it possible for her organization to reach out to communities and thanked the media, the radio stations in particular for disseminating the messages in the local languages to the masses.

Speaking in the area for justice to end FGM, Dr. Touray called on the Gambia government to move the gains made by the communities further by enacting a legislation to prohibit FGM. It could be recalled that a draft proposed bill to prohibit FGM has been subjected to a national consultation and submitted to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs at the Office of the Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs, the Women’s Bureau, the Justice Ministry and the office of the Ombudsman.  The GAMCOTRAP Executive Director said it is justice for the voices of the communities calling for a law to end FGM to be honoured and thanked the local religious leaders in their various communities for supporting the campaign to promote the dignity of women and girl children.

The V-Day West Africa Coordinator, Dr. Touray called for political will to support the coordination of the efforts to end FGM with legislation.  She concluded that Rising for justice is about showing solidarity by coming together to celebrate the courage of women survivors of violence.  Dr. Touray emphasized that V-Day amplifies and support grassroots organizations and animate for mass solidarity.

The rising in the Gambia is organized by GAMCOTRAP in partnership with TANGO on Friday 14 February 2014, starting at 9 am with a street parade from the traffic lights on Kairaba Avenue along Bertil Harding Highway to TANGO head office. An open forum on ‘Rising for Justice’, the global theme for the 2014 One Billion Rising Campaign, will continue at the venue. It will bring together children, youth, women and men from all walks of life including people with disabilities, among other actors in the wider civil society as well as NGOs and development partners.  The media have started rising by offering airtime and space in the newspapers for discussions and publication of articles and press releases.

Gender-based violence is prevalent in the Gambia because of a deep-seated socio-cultural beliefs and practices that inform our social, economic and political ideas, systems and relations. In our homes, work places, institutions of learning and in our communities, women and girls continue to face various forms of abuse and exploitation from their male partners, be they fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers, superiors and colleagues among others, which go unnoticed sometimes, and at times deliberate, but all the time absolutely wrong! Because of the entrenched patriarchy and misconceived Islamic teachings, both men and women are socialized to believe and practice these forms of violence against women as part of our culture and therefore normal. We are oblivious to the fact that as society, so long as we continue to marginalize, suppress and exploit one half of the population, then we are harming ourselves and retarding our progress and freedom, thus limiting our humanity. GAMCOTRAP and TANGO call on all individuals, institutions and organizations in the public, private and civil society sectors to realize and fulfill their obligation to the protection of the human rights of women and girls. This is both an individual and collective responsibility that must be fulfilled if we are to ensure a decent environment for the unfettered development and empowerment of women and girls, hence the overall advancement of our society.


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:14



2nd October 2013

GAMCOTRAP’s  Response to Sainey Darboe’s Report on

“Three Month Old Baby undergoes FGM in Bakoteh”(Foroyaa Newspaper 02/10/13)

It is with sadness and concern that we read news about an innocent three-month-old baby girl who was subjected to FGM in Bakoteh, a semi urban area of the Gambia.  We want to sympathise with the pain and trauma subjected to the child. Unfortunately, Bakoteh is not currently part of GAMCOTRAP’s project intervention area. In the areas that GAMCOTRAP operates, it engages communities using the Cluster Approach to reach out to the different communities in a holistic and systemic manner ensuring that the information reaches the doorstep of the community.

Read more


12th September 2013

GAMCOTRAP Empowers Media Practitioners to Disseminate the

UN Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

Group Picture of Participants at Media Advocacy on UN Ban on FGM

GAMCOTRAP engaged thirty Gambian journalists from twenty-four media outlets and they were exposed to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 67/146, intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations (FGM). The Gambia is one of seven countries being supported with funding from UNFPA through the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices (IAC), based in Addis Ababa, to disseminate, popularise and raise awareness amongst relevant stakeholders.

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Press Release


9th July 2013


More Kombo Community Leaders came to consensus that FGM is harmful and should stop

GAMCOTRAP, with support from Save the Children International continues to reach out to the District Authorities in the Kombos in the West Coast Region of the Gambia.  The three day awareness creation programme was held from the 5th -7th July 2013 at the Regional Education Office in Brikama, Kafuta School and Siffoe Senior Secondary School respectively.  Over the weekend community leaders in Kombo Central, Kombo East and Kombo South including, Chiefs, Alkalolu, Religious Leaders, Ward and Women Councillors and council of elders in the districts were exposed to Rights Education regarding the campaign to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation, rights of children and women as well as gender based violence.

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Press Release


3rd July 2013

New York based UNFPA /UNICEF FGM Programme Coordinator visits GAMCOTRAP project beneficiaries

The Deputy Governor of the Central River Region, Malang Saibeh Camara acknowledged that since GAMCOTRAP came to the region, harmful cultural practices have stopped and the awareness of the communities has been raised.   He made these remarks during the recent monitoring visit of the New York based UNFPA/UNICEF Programme Coordinator for FGM, Dr. Nafisatou Diop  who visited GAMCOTRAP project beneficiaries in the Central River Region North.   Deputy Governor Camara thanked GAMCOTRAP and UNFPA for creating the enabling environment for people to learn from and are able to discard harmful traditional practices.  He said that girls in the region are being protected which positively impacts on their health.  He reiterated that national development cannot be attained if the people are not healthy but also good health cannot be attained if people are not educated and informed.

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From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World:

Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!


The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign continues the theme of “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!” in 2013. After an open call for input, feedback was received from the 16 Days network of participant activists and organizations working on human rights, gender-based violence, and social justice issues worldwide.

The 2013 16 Days Campaign advocates for awareness and action on the multi-faceted intersections of gender-based violence and militarism, while highlighting the connection between the struggle for economic and social rights and ending gender-based violence. The theme focuses on militarism as a creation and normalization of a culture of fear that is supported by the use or threat of violence, aggression, as well as military intervention in response to political and social disputes or to enforce economic and political interests.

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21st June 2013

UNFPA Supports GAMCOTRAP in the Fight to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation: 2011-2013

GAMCOTRAP has been a key partner of UNFPA for over twenty years and has contributed to the attainment of the ICPD, MDGs and other relevant development goals promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and children in The Gambia. This partnership has resulted in many years of positive outcomes achieved through advocacy and social mobilization activities on key reproductive health issues such as Female Genital Mutilation and Early Marriage.

Read more



18th June 2013


Thirty Community Based Facilitators in the three Niaminas Certificated on

Advocacy Strategies to Eradicate Female Genital Mutilation










The campaign to accelerate the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) takes root in Niamina East, West and Dankunku Districts in the Central River Region South.  Thirty men and women have completed three day training on Advocacy Strategies to Eradicate Female Genital Mutilation held at Kudang.  The training was undertaken by GAMCOTRAP in partnership with the UNFPA and Gambia Government 2012 – 2016 country programme.

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Press Release


11th June 2013

The Campaign to Accelerate the Abandonment of FGM in the Niaminas has Started

Community Leaders Welcomed the Campaign against FGM in the Niaminas

Over two hundred and thirty participants from the 11 Clusters of Niamina East, Niamina West, Niamina Dankunku and Sotokoi village including the three district Chiefs, Alkalolu, Imams and women leaders have been part of series of community training programmes in the Central River Region South.  This is part of the UNFPA and Gambia Government 2013 funded programme being implemented by the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the health of Women and Children – GAMCOTRAP.

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Appreciation to the public and well wishers


Since my abduction, spanning 5 months and 17 days; I have caused tremendous stress to my love ones. Gambians and non Gambians alike have been tormented psychologically because of my ordeal. I want to express my deepest and sincere sense of appreciation for your genuine concern about my life and safety. To all those concerned, I want to say Sorry for the trauma you have gone through for my sake and for the sake of the truth. I wish to note that my predicament is one ordained by Allah and that my faith and dedication to the truth shall remain unshakable by the grace of Allah.

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21st May 2013


Unsafe Abortion rips-off Africa of its adolescents and young women

The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR)  in partnership with IPAS Africa Alliance– an organization protecting women’s health  and advancing women’s reproductive rights in collaboration with Equal Now African region organized a two day workshop on unsafe abortion at the Hilton hotel in Nairobi, Kenya from the 7th - 8th May 2013.  The workshop brought together about thirty civil society organizations from the African continent. The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), one of SOAWR’s members was in attendance and was represented by Senior Programme Coordinator, Mary Small.

Read more

April 2013


By Sarata Jabbi-Dibba



(L)Activists prefer initiation to genital mutilation/Gamcotrap (R) Dr. Touray & Bojang lead the fight against FGM/Gamcotrap


The massive dropping of knife by circumcisors is a significant development in the fight to eradicate the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This recent development, the fruits of the hard work of the Gambia Committee against Traditional Harmful Practices (GAMCOTRAP), deserves to be celebrated.

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For Release on the 8th April 2013


Press Release

GAMCOTRAP Celebrates 4th Dropping of the Knife Ceremony in The Gambia








The 1st Public Declaration in the Central River Region-North of The Gambia.

The sustained advocacy to bring an end to FGM is registering positive change in the lives of girls. The Cluster Approach in addressing FGM has created greater level of awareness in the Gambia working with various target groups in the cluster communities. This has resulted to the Dropping of the Knife, a public declaration by Circumcisers and their communities in the Gambia. In 2010, GAMCOTRAP focused its attention to the Central River Region North for the campaign to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation through the Rights Based Approach and grassroots mobilization using the Cluster Approach.

Read more.

MARCH 2013

Dr Isatou Touray is Guest Speaker at the Gender Institute of the London School of Economics

The Gender Institute at the London School of Economics on the 18th March organized a public event to explore the Politics of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray was guest speaker at the event held at New Theatre, East building with a capacity 240 people.

Read more.

Report on One Billion Rising Gambia 2013



Change can only occur when people engage in addressing the injustices that happen to them. The One Billion Rising is one example of this great initiative which weaved the whole into one to raise their voices against violence against women. GAMCOTRAP did it with all of you in unity which gave the event strength and importance. Our appreciation goes to all those who have participated in this great event in the Gambia. GAMCOTRAP staff and volunteers wish to specifically express appreciation to the rural women and men, and the youth fraternity. To the Child Protection Alliance (CPA), Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia (FLAG), Network of People with Disability, Women’s Rights Organisations, Think Young Women, The Security Forces, The Media Fraternity, TANGO, The facilitators and individuals who made this a reality.

Read more.

Update on Roadmap to One Billion Rising, 14th February 2013 the Gambia

Press Release

Gambians Rising on International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

This year V- Day is supporting GAMCOTRAP to reach out to Community and Opinion leaders in the Kanifing Municipality on February 6th.  This is part of the worldwide movement led by Eve Ensler to say No to Violence Against Women and to bring attention to the one billion women who suffer different forms of violence.   Zero Tolerance this year will be a prelude to V-Day on the 14th February 2013 when One Billion women and men will be rising as survivors of violence who have taken the courage to say No to Violence Against Women.

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February 14, 2013 to be V-Day’s Largest Day of Action Ever

On the 6th February, 2013, at 9:30, GAMCOTRAP will join with activists around the world for ONE BILLION RISING, the largest day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2013, V-Day’s 15thanniversary, GAMCOTRAP will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world as we express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

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22nd November 2012


L-R: Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho

We give thanks and appreciation to Almighty Allah Subhanahu watalla, our families, friends, partners and well wishers for being with us all through this tribulation that Allah has bestowed upon us. We give glory to the highest, the king of Kings, Giver and Reckoner of who does what. The Lord Almighty has redeemed us from all darkness and brought the light to the public that we are not guilty of the false allegation. Read more


12th November 2012


The Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP Dr. Isatou Touray and Programme Coordinator Amie Bojang-Sissoho have been freed by Taiwo Ade Alagbe of the Banjul Magistrate Court of two counts - theft and fraud of thirty thousand Euros from Yolocamba Solidaridad.

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7th November 2012

GAMCOTRAP Commends UN for taking the FGM Campaign Further

A draft resolution called “Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation” was recently put up for discussion at the UN General Assembly by the African Group at the UN.

The Resolution calls for a holistic approach to ending FGM, with many of the points based on recommendations made by the Commission on the Status of Women and the Secretary General’s report.

The Resolution also notes “deep concern” that despite increased efforts, prevalence remains high and that a tremendous gap in resources exists. Read more in PDF


1st November 2012

The Central River Region North of the Gambia is Poised to Protect Girls from FGM

Under the support of the UNFPA Gambia Government Country Programme 2012, four hundred and fifty –seven (457) participants from one hundred and Seven (107) communities in the Central River Region North have benefitted from a series of training programmes.  The programme targeted Women Leaders, Women of Reproductive Age and male and female Youths hosted in nine Cluster Villages namely Janjanbureh, Nyoro Tukulorr, Njau Sey Kunda, Dobo, Kuntaur, Jahaur, Wassu, Banni and Kaur.  Read more


Date: 30th October 2012

His Excellency, The President

Sheikh Professor, Alhajie Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh

Office of The President

State House



Your Excellency,



GAMCOTRAP wishes to appreciate your kind and magnanimous gesture during the holy month of EID EL ADHA in giving praise and blessing to the Gambian polity and all Muslims in particular. GAMCOTRAP wishes to also thank you and appreciate your kind gesture towards the release of prisoners who you have pardoned. Read more





31st October 2012

Gambians Signing Up for the One Billion Rising in Africa

GAMCOTRAP has mobilized individuals from Nineteen (19) organizations/ institutions working to promote the rights of women and children in the Gambia.  They were briefed on the initiative on the One Billion Rising pioneered by V-Day and the Africa Regional meeting held in Nairobi.  They were requested to reflect on any of the forms of violence against women just because she as a vagina, whether it is Female genital Mutilation, early and Forced Marriage, Rape and sexual abuse, denial of education, etc.  They signed up to the One Billion Rising because they want to rise up and say no to violence against women and girls.  Read more


October 2012

GAMCOTRAP Participates in a Regional Symposium to Combat Hate Speech

GAMCOTAP Senior officials attended in a Regional Symposium on combating  extremism and Hate Speech in Africa while protecting  Freedom of Expression” in Saly, Senegal, from 3-4th October 2012. Human rights advocates, activists, free expression, media regulators women’s rights organizations, legal experts and government institutions took part in the meeting.   The two day Symposium was led and attended by three UN Special Rapporteurs namely, Mr Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Mr. Alexey Avtonomov, Chair, UN Committee for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination and Dr. Diogene Bideri, Principal Legal Adviser, Africa Regional Committee on the Prevention of Genocide. They gave keynote addresses on ‘the UN Perspectives on hate speech’. This symposium gave opportunity to  Human Rights Activists working in Africa a better   understanding of Hate Speech, the challenges it poses to human rights works and how to curb  it; and share legal cases from different regions of Africa. Media experts also shared case studies of hate speech in their media houses. Read more.




The Gambian Voices amongst the One Billion Rising to

Say No to Violence Against Women

Most women and girls in Gambian society have been brought up to accept that being a woman is a weakness and femininity is for male pleasure.  Women and girls are socialized to accept such myths and they are reinforced in the sayings amongst different ethnic languages.  For instance in Mandinka, ‘Musuya mu nasoo leti’ meaning womanhood is about being vulnerable, lesser ability and limited capability and weakness.  Some will force women to accept that womanhood is about suffering engraved in the social psyche that ‘musuya mu bataleti’ – ‘womanhood is about suffering’ has enforced the taboo of silence over sex, sexuality and reproductive health issues affecting women in particular. Read more



Synopsis of the V- Africa Summit: One Billion Rising to End Violence Against Women in Africa

Everyday a girl child or a woman is crying because of the pain she is going through.  She has been betrayed by the adults she trusted most, the one she loved and believed in.  Nobody seems to hear her cry, noticed that she is sobbing from a deep emotional lost.  She has lost hope in life.  She is not safe at home, on the street, in the institution or society at large.  She has been labelled, her image tarnished, she has been silenced, yet no one seems to care about the perpetrators.  It is the plight of girls and women in such situations that is a concern for many women’s rights activists and young girls who have found their voices and are Rising and speaking out to put an end to violence against women. Read more.





This Working Paper provides an overview of gender in The Gambia, tracing

changes in gender roles and relations in the past few decades, and identifying

key outstanding barriers to gender equality in the 21st century.  Prefaced by a

brief review of quantitative gender indicators which reveal something of the

character of gender in contemporary Gambian society and how The Gambia

fares relative to other countries in the world, the paper is organised around

three main sections:  education and the economy, family and society, and

policy and politics.

Click on the pdf link below for the full Working Paper.

Chant & Touray, GAMCOTRAP WORKING PAPER No1, Sylvia's August 2012 version in pdf


GFPA Youth Action Movement

All Girls Day


Statement on Violence Against Women


Mary Small

According to the (UN General Assembly 48/104) Violence Against Women is “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private.”



27th September 2012

More Women fom the Kombos, in the West Coast Region

Pledge to protect their daughters from FGM


Women Leaders and Traditional Communicators at Mandinary

Over two hundred participants have benefited from a series of training workshops targeted at traditional communicators and women of reproductive age from the Kombo in the West Coast Region of the Gambia.  Save the Children International and UN Women have continued to support GAMCOTRAP to reach out to communities and raise awareness on the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages and other forms of violence against women.   During the series of sensitization trainings, thirty-four Kabilos in Mandinary, Jabang, Jambanjelly and Jambur were engaged to create awareness among them in the bid to protect girls and women from the harmful effects of FGM in particular. Read more



16th August 2012

Activist Imam Receives Award in United States

GAMCOTRAP wishes to take this opportunity to thank the Rhodes Island Gambian American community, Dairatul Abraar for recognizing the contributions of Imam Baba Leigh in promoting women’s rights in Islam. Imam Leigh was presented with the Rhodes Island Gambian Community Recognition Award, May 26th, 2012.

Identity and social affiliation is a strong part of human existence. It matters how people identify you but most importantly how you identify yourself. Identity can be fluid depending where one is. Read more



7th August 2012

Second batch of Circumcisers from CRRN received capacity building training as well as support for their alternatives income generating activities

The efforts to protect girls and women from the harmful effects of Female Genital Mutilation in the Gambia continued in the Central River Region North.  The second batch of Circumcisers has undergone a three day training to build their capacity on Alternative Employment Opportunities – AEO.  Twelve Circumcisers from Sami, Niani and Upper Saloum Districts have each received five thousand (GMD5000.00) for the alternative incoming generating activities they have identified during the feasibility study conducted with them.

Read more.

Second batch of Circumcisers in CRR North received the support for AEO



25th July 2012

GAMCOTRAP Hounours Surrogate Mother in the Central River Region

Janjanbureh a historic town and administrative head of the Central River Region is home to cultural protagonist and well known women’s leader, Aja Babung Sidibeh.  Having interacted with GAMCOTRAP through its intervention in the region to eliminate FGM, She has been honoured as surrogate mother to the organization.  The objective is to demonstrate that GAMCOTRAP respects the positive cultural practices that promote social cohesion and solidarity among he communities.  The honouring ceremony is to recognize the context that mothers care, support and protect their children as well as guide them to the right direction and path. Read more





24th July 2012

GAMCOTRAP through UNFPA Joint Programme gives AEO support Circumcisers in the Central River Region North

GAMCOTRAP under the UNFPA Joint Programme will support twenty-five (25) Circumcisers discovered in the Central River Region North of the Gambia.

The first batch of eleven Circumcisers in Sami, Niani and Janjanbureh districts in the Central River Region North have received support to engage in alternative employment opportunities they have identified as their source of livelihood.  GAMCOTRAP presented five thousand Dalasis to each of the Circumcisers in their communities witnessed by Alkalolu, Women leaders and family members.  It is part of the UNFPA joint Programme Country to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation in the Gambia. Read more






A Burning Activist in the Horizon

GAMCOTRAP Congratulates you on your Award



Satang Nabaneh

The patriarchal nature of society seriously limits women’s active and meaningful participation in decision-making at all levels and thus renders countless number of women powerless and voiceless.  This generation of young women take opportunities and liberties for granted most of the time. However, young women are gradually having a clear understanding of the way their lives are different from young men- “the double standards.”

Such consciousness needs to be translated into action that leads to a consensus that the new generation of young women leaders to build on the work of those who came before them. Read more




Pride of Gambia Women in the Diaspora:

Ndey Jobarteh Winner of the Top Ten Immigrants Award 2011

Ndey Jobarteh

The Gambia yet proud of another of its great daughters, who have spent their life to make a difference and break way from stereotypes often associated to women in general and in particular Gambia women abroad.  Modest in her outlook, Ndey have strived to make a difference while she pursues opportunities that come her way.  Her focus on who she is in the midst of global identities and promotion of interrelations and interdependency to move humanity forward are qualities that have won her recognition amongst African Women in the Diaspora and Gambians in Norway in particular.  Focussed on her work and respect for human rights and belief in democracy allows her to relates to people across boundaries. Read more




Farewell to the Deputy Chief of Mission, H.E Cindy Gregg

GAMCOTRAP celebrates her contributions to Women’s Rights in the Gambia


In January 2010, The Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in the Gambia Her Excellency Cynthia F. Gregg fondly called Cindy during her services in the Gambia built a bridge between diplomacy and activism. She melted the ice and made women’s rights activists appreciate that the world is watching their efforts to protect the rights of women and children. Read more



Date: JULY 2012

More Religious Leaders from the Kombos declare that

Female Genital Mutilation is not an Islamic Obligation


A training workshop targeted at fifty religious leaders from the Kombos was attended by Imams, Deputy Imams, Scholars, Teachers and Preachers on Islam from fifteen Communities in the Kombos, Islamic networks and organizations.   GAMCOTRAP continues to reach out to Religious Leaders in a bid to raise their consciousness on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues with support of Save the Children Sweden and UN Women. Read more



Date: June 2012

Upper Saloum Communities benefit from campaign to stop FGM and GBV




As GAMCOTRAP reaches out to more Communities in CRR North, More Circumcisers  are pledging to drop their knives

Fifty five Communities in Jareng Kerr Mamud, Panchang and Fass Clusters in Upper Saloum benefitted from a series of community sensitization campaign to eradicate FGM and gender based violence in the Central River Region North.  Over one hundred and fifty participants in Upper Saloum district were reached during the training targeted at community leaders.  This is part of a series of UNFPA funded project for 2012 in which GAMCOTRAP has been engaging different communities in the region towards the eradication of FGM and other forms of gender based violence. Read more..




Date: May 2012

Cultural Protagonist Supports the Eradication of FGM in the Central River Region


The power of information  using the local languages to change perceptions and attitudes continues to give prominence to the work of the GAMCOTRAP in the Central River Region. Under the auspices and support of the UNFPA joint programme, twenty-five (25) Community Based Facilitators from the Central River Region North benefitted from a three day capacity building workshop to engage in community sensitization and mobilization to protect girls from Female Genital Mutilation. Read more.




DATE: May 2012

GAMCOTRAP Pays Tribute to

H.E Pamela White

H.E Ambassador Pamela Ann White in the Gambia 2010-2012


It all started just over four decades ago, in 1971. She decided to work with people as a Peace Corp Volunteer in a small village where there was no access to electricity, running water, and no one spoke English. She denied herself the luxury of using a washing machine do her laundry instead washed her clothes in the river, just like most of the women do in most deprived areas in Africa.  Read more.



GAMCOTRAP Executive Director Participates in the 56th session of the

Commission on the Status of Women

The Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP Dr. Isatou Touray who is also the Secretary General of the Inter-Africa Committee on Traditional Practices attended high-level parallel events during the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. Read more



Speech by GAMCOTRAP Programme Coordinator, Amie Bojang-Sissoho on

International Women’s Day March 2012

Topic: Female Genital Mutilation in the Context of Women’s Rights in the Gambia

Good Evening,

All protocols respectfully observed

First of all let us all embrace someone next to us to celebrate the contribution of women in making us who we are today. Read more





Date: March 2012

GAMCOTRAP engages to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2012

Good Morning Gambia” host Aisha Keita of Unique FM talks to Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray to celebrate International Women’s Day.  Dr. Touray made her view known on different women’s rights issues to inspire young girls.

Bernadeth Sanneh of GRTS (Radio) moderated a panel of one hour live and recorded another half an hour to mark IWD, 8th March 2012.  GAMCOTRAP Programme Coordinator, Amie Bojang-Sissoho was one of the guests invited to talk on the theme ‘Empowering Grassroots women, Eradicating Poverty and Inspiring Girls” in Mandinka and Wollof. Read more..



Date: March 2012

As First NGO Week 2012 Wraps up GAMCOTRAP Grabs Award Certificates

A well kept secret amongst the Non State Actors Strengthening Programme was who they would recognize at the First NGO week Award night.    The event was organized by The Association of Non Governmental Organizations in the Gambia – TANGO at the end of a week-long exhibition and Panel discussions   on different thematic  areas of development and NGO engagements.   Recognizing the important role of NGOs in the socio-economic and political development of the Gambia, TANGO provided for its seventy-three members  to showcase their work throughout the NGO week – 11th – 17th February 2012. Read more..



Date: 2nd February 2012

Press Release on Zero Tolerance to FGM Day, 6th February 2012


The United Nations sets aside 6th February as a day to globally recognize the need to protect girls and women from all forms of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) dubbed “International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day”. Since the year 2003, members of a Regional body leading the campaign in Africa, known as The Inter Africa Committee on Traditional Practices (IAC) have been celebrating this Political commitment to protect girl children and women. Read more..


Welcome Remarks by Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP on the occasion of the celebration of the Day on February 6th, 2012.


GAMCOTRAP was established in 1984 following a conference in Dakar where African women discussed issues affecting their rights such as harmful traditional practices.

GAMCOTRAP is a non-governmental organisation registered with the Attorney General's Chamber. The NGO Affairs Agency and the Association for non-governmental Oganisations (TANGO). It is affiliated to the Inter-Africa Committee (IAC) on Traditional practices... Read more



This report is an overview of the activities of GAMCOTRAP for the year 2006. It outlines the activities and captures reactions from participants of various activities. GAMCOTRAP ‘s efforts to create awareness readers about FGM and VAW as well as other engagements to build alliances and networking within the Gambia and... Read more





Membership of the organisation is open to all persons who subscribe to the objectives of the organisation without discrimination as to race, religion, political conviction or any other differentiation... Read more






GAMCOTRAP is one of the oldest women’s rights NGOs in the Gambia. It was established in 1984 and has worked tremendously to protect the rights of women and children, fight against harmful traditional practices as well as promote the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and children. It has gone through daunting challenges to demonstrate women’s leadership in all spheres of development particularly in promoting the rights of women and children. Its mission is to ensure that women’s voices are heard loud and clear about issues affecting their lives. The fact that women are citizens and have the right to resources has not only affected women farmers who need to own land as a strategic resource but also activist organizations like GAMCOTRAP. Read more





GAMCOTRAP engages in the publications of materials on various socio cultural and Gender issues as well as on sexual and reproductive health for adolescent youths and women of reproductive age. Some of these publications are research materials while others are manuals use for the organizations training activities... Read more