Somalia’s prime minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has come out in support of a campaign to ban female genital mutilation (FGM) in the country, a welcome step towards abolishing the practice.

Despite calls by rights activists for a systemic cultural shift to end genital mutilation practice, the practice is prevalent and it is practiced quietly in many parts of Africa.

The UN has warned that the rates of female genital mutilation are expected to rise in the next 15 years Photo: Reuters

The UN has warned that the rates of female genital mutilation are expected to rise in the next 15 years Photo: Reuters

Although the practice is against Somalia’s constitution, there are currently no laws which prohibit the practice.

According to a report recently released by Unicef FGM is more rampant across the world, affecting more girls and women, than previously thought. The report notes that “Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia 98 per cent, Guinea 97 per cent and Djibouti 93 per cent”.

Activists are tirelessly campaigning to raise awareness across Africa and globally about the risks and effects of the practice.

Anti-FGM campaigners doing advocacy work to stop the practice in Africa and globally

  • Fatou Mandiang Diatta, popularly known as Sister Fa: A survivor of the practice (forcibly performed when she was a young girl), the Senegalese rapper, singer and activist has been fighting against the practice through her music.
  • Chesang Domtila a Kenyan anti-FGM activist who has campaigned against the practice since the age of 13.
  • Charity Koronya, prominent Kenyan anti-FGM activist.
  • Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian FGM survivor leading anti-FGM campaigns in America.
  • Hibo Wardere, an activist campaigning against FGM in the UK. Wardere was six years old when she underwent the practice in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Source: BBC