This is Africa spoke to Ekene Odigwe, one of the makers of a film aimed at raising awareness of the fight against Female genital mutilation (FGM).
While Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been declared illegal in some African countries, it still persists. Patrick Egwu in Nigeria, Annie Njanja in Kenya and Mamadou Lamine Ba in Senegal explored what was being done in their countries to stop this age-old discriminatory practice.
‘Why did they cut you when you didn’t pose a threat to anyone? Why did they deny me sexual pleasure by getting rid of you?’
A 37-year-old Ugandan born woman has been convicted of mutilating her three-year-old daughter. She is the first person to be convicted, despite other female genital mutilation prosecutions having been brought to court in the UK. Those cases all ended in acquittals due to the lack of sufficient evidence.
A study by the Reproductive, Educative and Community Health Programme (REACH) has shown that traditionalists in Uganda have now shifted to circumcising married women with the consent of their families, causing the prevalence of FGM to rise drastically in older women.
Justice for Deeqa: 10-year-old Deeqa Dahir Nuur died two days after a female genital mutilation procedure in central Somalia. Her death has prompted the first FGM prosecution in Somalia’s history
Efforts to discourage girls from being cut in Tanzania have changed the cultural meaning and practices around the ceremonial rite of passage.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs in Somaliland has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, banning female genital mutilation. This is preparing the region for the passing of legislation that will finally outlaw the practice altogether.
As we mark the 2018 international day International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation we need to accelerate efforts of raising awareness and encourage concrete actions to stop the harmful practice.