SOURCE: UNFPA West and Central

Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation possess a unique and powerful voice that can drive meaningful change. Their experiences offer important insights into the challenges faced and the support needed. By sharing their stories, survivors can raise awareness, reduce stigma, and inspire action within communities and among policymakers.

Sainey M Ceesay is one of such survivors advocating for an end to Female Genital Mutilation in The Gambia. She was circumcised at just 8 years old without her parents' consent. Sainey’s heartbreaking testimony is one held by over 70% of survivors of FGM in The Gambia.

Sainey has transformed her harrowing experience into a powerful force for change. Enduring the traumatic procedure at a tender age, Sainey now dedicates her efforts to advocating for the eradication of FGM and supporting fellow survivors. Her work includes raising awareness about the physical and psychological impacts of FGM and advocating for the retention of the law banning FGM. Through her tireless efforts, she inspires hope and resilience, proving that one voice can indeed drive the much-needed change. “No woman should have to go through the pain and suffering I encountered.”

The proposed FGM Law Repeal: Efforts and perspectives

The debate on the proposed repeal of the law is set to resume in July after series of advocacy efforts by rights activists and consultations by National Assembly Members. A coalition of civil society organisations supported by the United Nations has also been on the ground sensitizing communities to get their buy in on why the law needs to be retained. This includes one carried out by a coalition of men dubbed Men4Equality seeking to leverage the influence of men and boys to end this practice. The UNFPA is at the center of these movements. The UNFPA The Gambia Representative Ndeye Rose Sarr believes that a survivor-led movement will make a huge difference: “Every survivor’s voice is a call to action and every choice they make in reclaiming their lives contributes to the global movement to end this harmful practice.”

Sainey M Ceesay, like many rights activists, believes that repealing the law will devastate all efforts put in the fight against gender-based violence especially FGM. She is however hopeful that the law will be retained.

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