Chargé Seaver Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Combating FGM

Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Shelly Seaver reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to combatting FGM in a February 7 interview with Gambian Radio and Television Service’s “The Gambia Today” show. The radio show spoke both with the CDA and U.S.-Gambian NGO “Safe Hands for Girls” Coordinator Sait Matty Jaw on the topic. U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Shelly Seaver highlighted the important role civil society advocates play in supporting survivors and changing public opinion of the practice and Jaw underscored the work that needs to be done and the importance of mobilizing all members of the community against the practice. On February 6, CDA Seaver attended an event hosted by the NGO Safe Hands for Girls to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The NGO which was founded by Gambian born naturalized U.S. citizen Jaha Dukureh and has offices in Atlanta and Banjul, marked International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Banjul with a screening of the film Jaha’s Promise. The film provides information about the history, cultural roots and ongoing practice of FGM in The Gambia and details the campaign Safe Hands for Girls organized which resulted in FGM being outlawed in The Gambia in 2015. In a roundtable discussion following the film, Dukureh and Safe Hands for Girls National Coordinator Sait Matty Jaw highlighted the important role Imams and village elders can play in halting the already outlawed practice.