Tide is Turning Against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

22 Mayo 2012
Author: UNFPA
In the past, almost all Somali girls were cut.  But the Joint Programme aims to change that for the next generation

For centuries, female genital mutilation or cutting has been practiced throughout much of Africa. But dealing as it does with a very intimate subject, FGM/C was often spoken of, if at all, only in whispers. Today the movement against it is open, public and highly visible. And FGM/C seems to be out in the open and on its way out.

Farmers in remote villages in Mali are listening to radio talk shows debating the issue. Community groups in Senegal talk about it in terms of human rights. Islamic preachers in Somalia appear on television to denounce the practice. Roadside posters in Eritrea boldly condemn it. And policemen in Kenya, trained in human rights, actively enforce the new law that bans it.

A key player in this multi-faceted campaign to encourage abandonment of FGM/C is the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting. With support from a variety of donors, it has worked against the practice since 2008 and, as an indication of its effectiveness, has just been extended for an additional year, until December 2013.

As its new annual report points out, the Joint Programme works with governments in 15 countries to share knowledge about the dire effects of FGM/C on women’s health, to build capacity among government officials and local organizations to advocate for its abandonment, to convince Islamic clerics to embrace a new role as protectors of women’s health, and to train journalists – 512 in 2011 alone – to report on the issue fairly, accurately and persistently.

Progress toward ending the practice has been dramatic. In 2011 alone, 2,744 communities publicly declared their abandonment of FGM/C. Across the 15 Joint Programme countries, 141 cases violating national laws against the practice were prosecuted in court. Nearly 20,000 community education sessions took place. Some 3,500 newspaper articles and TV and radio programmes discussed the benefits of ending the practice. Close to 300 health facilities included FGM/C prevention in their antenatal and neonatal care. More than 4,100 religious leaders taught their followers that FGM/C is not sanctioned by Islam. And nearly 1,000 religious edicts were issued in support of abandoning the practice.

Innovative new strategies for ending FGM/C have emerged during the last year. ‘Rescue’ missions in Uganda and Somalia, led by community activists, have prevented girls from being cut. Community groups trained by the Joint Programme systematically convince one family after another to abandon the practice.

In Sudan, a sophisticated multi-media campaign is working to transform the public perception of uncut girls from ‘unclean’ and promiscuous ‘ghalfa’, to whole, intact, perfect and marriageable (Saleema). In Kenya and other countries, young men are joining the debate for the first time, openly declaring their commitment to marry uncut girls. Former circumcisers from the Gambia to Ethiopia are holding public ceremonies renouncing their former profession. In Senegal, a course on FGM/C and its negative health effects has been integrated into the national education curriculum.

Public pressure, which for centuries weighed in favour of FGM/C, is now moving against it. The aim of the Joint Programme is to get this opposition to a ‘tipping point’ where the traditional social norm is reversed. Young girls, women, entire communities and Africa itself will be the beneficiaries of this change.

South Africa
Población : 59.3 mil
Tasa de fertilidad
Proporción de mortalidad materna
Tasa de prevalencia de anticonceptivos
Población de 10 a 24 años
Youth secondary school enrollment
Niños 65%
Niñas 79%

Contenido relacionado

A new report by UNFPA offers, for the first time, a global view of women’s decision-making power over their own bodies. The findings are dismaying.
Es posible poner fin a las muertes maternas prevenibles, cubrir todas las necesidades insatisfechas en materia de planificación de la familia y poner fin a la violencia basada en el género, todo en el plazo de un decenio.
Hace veinticinco años, la tasa de fecundidad promedio mundial era de 2,9 nacimientos por mujer. Hoy ha disminuido a un promedio de 2,5, y se espera que este descenso continúe.