Inspiring adolescent action to end Female Genital Mutilation
In 2021, UNFPA The Gambia commissioned RebelVZN to produce a film on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). RebelVZN worked with a diverse team of professionals in the film industry in The Gambia to produce the film.
The film was shot in Janjanbureh, Central River Region, where 72.8% of girls and women aged 15 - 49 years have undergone a form of FGM [MICS 2018]. This includes many of the girls and women involved in the production of the film as cast and crew.
What future do we want for girls around the world
Sira finds out that her parents are planning to force her through Female Genital Mutilation. She mobilises her friends and leads them through a resistance movement, enlisting the support of community leaders to protect herself and other girls at risk of FGM.
When we were presented with the opportunity to create this film, we knew that we had to produce a story that was different from the usual narratives of the victimhood and powerlessness of girls, in relation to FGM. We also wanted to demonstrate the power, skill and talent among young people in The Gambia.
In line with our company’s ethos, we intentionally established collaborations with young creatives in the country to produce the film. Young, talented Gambians were involved in all aspects of the production process including planning and management, script writing, filming, sound production, editing and brand development.
The result of this collaboration is a source of great pride for us and our partners, as we have successfully created a powerful visual support that can be used to facilitate policy advocacy as well as direct community engagement to influence positive behavioural change. We are confident that the film SIRA will sustain the fires of the youth movement to end FGM in The Gambia, while being a gateway for interest and inspiration among new groups who get to learn about FGM and the rights violation it represents.
We are pleased to have collaborated with STS Pictures and Xalam Records to produce the film, while building new partnerships with other creatives, exploring community relations with the people of Janjanbureh in the Central River Region who opened their hearts and homes to us for the successful production.
MESSAGE FROM UNFPA THE GAMBIA
In The Gambia, the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in women aged 15–49 years is 74.9%. FGM is not only a hindrance to the empowerment of girls and women, but it also causes serious long-term psychological and health complications. Some of the effects of FGM include increased risks of HIV, sexual and reproductive health problems and may lead to later complications in pregnancy and childbirth, as well as psychological impacts. At this very moment: girls are still not safe, girls are still undergoing FGM, and girls still do not have equal rights. We all have a role to play in the fight against FGM, and do have the power to change the practice.
SIRA, this film on FGM is geared towards educating girls on their right to decide what happens to their bodies, as we need to break the chain of silence. We call on girls and their families, teachers, health workers, community and religious leaders, and government officials to act together to make a difference. It is time to put an end to this harmful practice, and to allow communities everywhere to meet their full potential by empowering women and girls.