BANJUL, The Gambia- Over the past few months, Tostan has been participating in a nation-wide NGO Conference on Community Empowerment Programs that address the issue of female genital cutting (FGC) organized by the Gambian Policy and Analazies Unit, Office of the President. The main goal of the conference is to enable the Gambian government to have a better understanding of the operational systems of all organizations involved in supporting the movement toward the abandonment of FGC.
The Government has also been seeking to determine, in the course of the conference, whether or not legislation regarding the practice should be drafted and enacted. Having reviewed the approaches of all invited NGOs, the Policy and Analazies Unit declared that Tostan has “the best approach for projects that empower communities, especially in the area of education on female genital cutting.”
Essa Kanuteh, A Tostan community facilitator, gave an engaging and inspirational explanation of the Tostan approach and was awarded the title of “Best Presenter at the NGOs Conference.”
Tostan’s approach to community empowerment is respectful as well as non-judgmental, involving all members of the community in the effort to end harmful traditional practices such as FGC and child/forced marriage. Tostan facilitators will conduct two, week-long awareness-raising programs and will present at the national assembly building in mid-April.