President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, announced a ban of female genital mutilation (FGM) on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
FGM involves cutting the female genitalia to remove the labia and clitoris and can be conducted a few days after birth to puberty and beyond. UNICEF reports that in half the countries for which national figures are available, most girls are cut before the age of five. The procedure is extremely high risk and often leads to lifelong health complications, including bleeding, infections, vaginal pain, infertility and in some cases, death.
In Gambia, an estimated 76% of females have been subjected to FGM, including 56% of girls under the age of 14.