• Let me tell you a story...

"This training is good. To me, really, it changed my life because before the concept I had on this FGM/C was different. Before, when I heard people saying "FGM/C is not good", I would tell they don't know what they are saying because it's culture and we found our guys doing it, so I used to be against people, telling them that is good. But later on, when Wassu Gambia Kafo came to train us, I later knew that the concept I had on this FGM/C, is not what is happening. What I learnt here has changed my life because I was a victim, as I said here in the class. I was circumcised at the age of nine years, by then I was in Grade II. But the time they were taking me, I was not informed. In the morning they just came and told me that "you are going to eat bananas, today you will have plenty bananas". So I was happy, I'm telling my guys, today we are going to eat lots of bananas. So after we went there, I found myself in a critical situation, where I suffered a lot. It was terrible for me, because the bleeding they are saying here… on that day I bled, I over bled. They tried to help me to control the bleeding, but really it was a bad day for me. This training made me change a lot, I have learnt a lot through these complications.

As far as I am a Community Health Worker and I am attached at the community, what I plan now is, when I got back, I would try to sensitize my people, specially my traditional birth attendant and the village health workers, I will sensitize them and the influential persons in the villages. I will talk to them and sensitize them about the negative impact of FGM/C.

I am very proud of Wassu Gambia Kafo, because you people, you are helping the Nation. Is not helping the health worker alone, but you are helping the Nation, because as far as you are training the health workers, it means you are training the whole Nation. Because we, the health workers, are the ones dealing with the community, so if you train us, we can go to the community and express and give them feedback. So I am very happy because you are changing our lives. Before, what we were thinking, and now, what we are seeing, is different. So definitely, Wassu Gambia Kafo, a big thank you to you."

"This meeting which talks about FGM/C pleases me a lot. FGM/C is something that we should critically look into and listen attentively to your advice, so as to prevent us from its complications. I am a living witness to them, my own daughter after she has been circumcised. She would stay for two days without passing urine and me and my wife used to force her to pass urine by opening her legs but she will always cross her legs due to fear of pain. If you see all of this happening is due to ignorance about the complications of FGM/C and today you come to enlighten us, and now we also realize that what we used to do and practice as part of our culture, has consequences. Then we should stop the practice.

Before I didn't know the consequences but now I am aware of it and now I will be number one among those whose daughters will not be circumcised as I already see the consequences. As prevention is better than cure, we should encourage dialogue as us, the Alkhalos, we always attend meetings at different places. It's wise to engage people into such and for the women promise to start discouraging it during meetings, local contributions and ceremonies using friendly approaches.

My role in this would be to stand and make sure that the people of my village and the neighbouring villages will be well informed, as you can not hold trainings in all these villages. Then it will be our responsibility to sensitize them on all that FGM/C entails and on benefits of FGM/C, which involves knowledge transfer and singing and dancing, but the cutting should be stopped as it has complications."

"Today, if circumcision was in the mind of anyone, then that person have changed and anyone who intended to circumcise her daughter that person have stopped, and why, that is because of the information Wassu Kafo gave to the people of the country which delights us, as it is for our future and the future of our leaders, and I appreciate it and many others like me who are here. And if God accompany me back to Jokatu Darsilami, as I am the wife of the younger brother of Alkhalo (village chief), I will be sure to spread this information in Dassilami."

"And henceforth if anyone wants to circumcise her girl child, they have to go and look for an exciser elsewhere, but me, my hands will never do the work again"