The campaign to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has taken roots in The Gambia through raising awareness and building consciousness amongst the people. The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) has recently completed a series of training and information campaign activities held in Janjangbureh, Sami Karantaba Tabokoto and Chamen Nainija, all in the Central River Region north.

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The sound of gun shots pierced the air as seemingly intoxicated youth joined girls and women in wild celebration.

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Nevada Senator Harry Reid today introduced the Girls’ Protection Act of 2011 to protect young girls by banning the act of transporting girls overseas to be subject to female genital mutilation (FGM). By closing what is known as the “vacation loophole,” this legislation would strengthen a law that Reid authored in 1996 that criminalizes the practice of FGM on girls under the age of 18 in the United States.

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Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini, has called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to help combat gender-based violence in Zambia.

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Poverty, abuse and cultural practices are preventing a third of Zimbabwean girls from attending primary school and 67 percent from attending secondary school, denying them a basic education, according to a recent study which found alarming dropout rates for girls.

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Amina Shakir (not her real name) fled the drought and famine in Somalia for a better life in Kenya. But she did so illegally, placing her faith in the hands of a criminal network headed by Mukhalis or agents in Swahili. In the end her faith was misplaced as she was "sold" into employment upon finally reaching Kenya.

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An independent United Nations human rights expert told the General Assembly today that violence against women across the world continues to be pervasive and widespread and reminded States of their obligation under international law to protect women.

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The Kenya Council of Imams and Ulamaa has castigated Female Genital Mutilation saying it is against the Quran teachings and will fully support implementation of all FGM related laws.

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President Kibaki signed into law the FGM Bill on 30th September 2011. The bill now creates an act of parliament that prohibits the practice of female genital mutilation, safeguards against violation of a person’s mental or physical integrity through the practice of female genital mutilation and for connected purposes. Meaning, FGM is now a crime in Kenya and those found conducting it will serve up to 7 years in prison and fines of up to Sh500,000. Moreover, anyone who causes death in the process of carrying out FGM will be liable to life imprisonment.  Kenya now follows a number of African governments that have outlawed the practice.

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Making some simple, basic changes in education policy can result in many more girls attending school, experts said at a meeting here this week on Gender Equality in Education.

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