Understanding Culture
Protecting Human Rights
Thoraya
A. Obaid

UNFPA Executive Director
Gender Equity Human Rights

Bangladesh
Colombia
Ghana
Kenya
Mauritania
Mexico
Morocco
Romania
Sierra Leone
Turkey

Laying the groundwork

Starting off right
Bulding in sustainability
Women's options
Capacity-Building
Multisectoral alliances
Unity
Data-Gathering
Change from within
Youth & Education
Caring for the individual
Gaining support through advocacy
The Projects



Encourage change from within
The objective of a project should not be to impose a new value system or way of operating on a community. Rather, it should offer people an opportunity to think critically about what they are doing and why, thereby fostering change from within. In Ghana, an NGO is involved in freeing girls and young women who have been forced into ritual slavery as atonement for their families sins. Once enslaved in local shrines, the girls are typically exploited and beaten if they try to escape; they are also denied food, health care and education. The NGO avoids direct condemnation of this traditional practice, known as the trokosi system. Rather, it seeks to convince shrine priests to transform the requirements for atonement.The transformation takes place because the priests are made aware of the harm they are inflicting on the young women. As a result, a number of priests are accepting income-generating commodities, such as corn mills, fishing nets or, in rare cases, money, as sacrificial gifts from families, in lieu of their daughters.

Our strategy is very simple: It is to educate the practitioners to give up the practice themselves. We believe that a change that emanates from within will be more permanent.

REVEREND PIMPONG
Executive Director, International Needs-Ghana

 



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