Thursday, 5 December 2013

Female Genital Mutilation and where we are today


Despite the fact that FGM causes pain and suffering to millions of women and girls and can be life-threatening, it remains deeply entrenched in certain social value systems.

Changing this reality to bring about positive and protective social behaviour requires a holistic and integrated approach with harmonized programmes of action to achieve the common goal of Zero Tolerance to FGM.

Four areas of action could be to inform and train health professionals, to treat and refer women having been subjected to mutilations, and prevent possible mutilation of girls born in our country, especially through regular information to gynaecologists, paediatricians and school nurses.

In this endeavour, political will and action are indispensable. Governments have to be fully engaged and must allocate the necessary human and material resources to the complete elimination of FGM and other harmful traditional practices (HTPs).

Many States have passed legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation, but what about enforcement? We are still a long way from achieving effective implementation.

In addition we should not rule out the practitioners / excisors themselves.

They are women of a certain status and knowledge in their country. Women listen to them, they advise wives on their sexual relations with their husband, on household matters, on co-wives, etc. We cannot simply reject these practitioners and say that they are of no value or that they are murderers. We have to reason with them and explain to them that female genital mutilation inflicts pains and can even kill. We have to explain to them that they could divert their knowledge to something more constructive.

Modern and traditional media are also important actors and can play a major role in the fight against FGM.


Remember you can do your bit. Say no to the horrific practice that dehumanises women and children.


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