27 Mar 2012 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights


Female Genital Mutilation: Grim for Kenya
By George Kebaso, Kenya London News, 25 Mar 2012

A study in North Eastern Kenya has painted a grim picture in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as the practice among Somali Muslims rise beyond 90 per cent.
The study; Delinking Islam from FGM- strongly links religious beliefs in the Somali community to the current prevalence rates. Statistics released by a local human rights NGO, Mothers’ Lap Foundation (MLF) shows that 97 per cent of the Muslims in North Eastern Kenya practice FGM in the name of religious and cultural beliefs. The same study shows that in the Kisii community of Nyanza, FGM practice still remains high and cultural as well. It is second at 96 per cent after North Eastern Kenya, followed by the Maasai at 94 per cent; and Taita Taveta at 62 per cent. 

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Female Genital Mutilation practitioner explains "why we circumcise" (Interview)
By The Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, 24 Mar 2012

The Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation (CAGeM) interviews a villager who practices FGM in Bayelsa. CAGeM has targeted Bayelsa for eradication. Help us fight female genital mutilation at www.cagem.org.

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The cruellest cut: conference report
By Jenna Pudelek, British Medical Association, 24 Mar 2012

Up to 2,000 girls will be taken abroad this summer to be ‘cut’ or will have their clitorises sliced off and their vaginas sewn closed at ‘cutting parties’ in the UK. FGM (female genital mutilation) is a barbaric form of violence, and campaigners against the practice warn that some 24,000 British schoolgirls are at risk.
For the most part, the problem has remained hidden from mainstream society, but that is beginning to change.  
In February, the RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) and the RCM (Royal College of Midwives) hosted a conference to mark the UN International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM. 

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Liberian Writer Mae Azango Forced Into Hiding for Story on Female Genital Cutting
By Danielle Shapiro, The Daily Beast, 23 Mar 2012

Mae Azango hasn’t slept in her own bed, or seen her 9-year-old daughter, in almost two weeks. She hasn’t been sleeping well; “tension headaches” are keeping her up, she said, and she’s been eating so little that friends have taken to remarking on her weight loss.
The Liberian journalist has been living in fear since March 8, International Women's Day, when the newspaper Front Page Africa published an article she had written about the negative health implications of female genital cutting, which is practiced among a powerful secret women’s society in many of the country’s rural counties. The threats started pouring in—over the phone and by email—almost immediately. The callers warned that “they will grab me and put me in the Sande bush and cut me,” Azango told The Daily Beast, referring to the Sande society of women who perform the female genital cutting. “And for putting my mouth in this business, I will pay for it.”

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Tanzania: Minister decries FGM, violence against women
By IPP Media, 23 Mar 2012

Community Development, Gender and Children Minister Sophia Simba has called on Mara residents to stop outdated practices, including female genital mutilation (FGM), violence against women and marrying off schoolgirls. She also challenged women to come forward and vie for different leadership positions. She Traime residents, especially women, to participate in the new constitution making process. 
(...) "I'm really happy to be here in Mara, this is the very first time ever since I was elected UWT national chairperson to set my foot here. Just remember that a woman is the pillar of the family, child upbringing is not a joke. It's time the society shun outdated customs and practices," she stressed.

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Using SMS to spread the message: FGM is illegal
By UNFPA Uganda, 20 Mar 2012

Over 76% of Unicef’s Ureporters know Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting is illegal. U-report is an SMS service run by UNICEF Uganda which serves as a forum for youth and children to discuss issues that matter to them. Over 32,000 responses were received in 12 hours from all over Uganda. Through this SMS all 85.000 participants, including the ones that didn’t know, are now aware there’s a law preventing the practice of FGM.

Sjoyo, a 24 year old female from Mbale sent the following response "Yes its very illegal because it can cause death due too excessive bleeding". Which is true. As the debate continued, this SMS from Akram arrived: “female circumcision is illegal but many people especially those in Sabiny occupied areas consider it as culture so it is 2 heard 2 stop it.” 
Therefore UNICEF followed up with a new question: “6th Feb is day of zero tolerance to female circumcision. We know its illegal but is still practiced so is the culture more important than the law? YES or NO”

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Communities Want Change and say 'no' to female genital mutilation
By UNFPA Uganda, 20 Mar 2012

It turned out a moment filled with emotions that hot and sunny afternoon in a little village north-east of Uganda, when a group of traditionally bound women openly rose up to denounce the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and surrender their cutting knives to the authorities.
Dancing to the rhythm and beats of the drums and mellow tunes that set the mood, a group of once committed women cutters, all color- fully dressed, snaked their way to the high table and one by one, handed over their much treasured tools, the FGM knives, to the Chief Guest of the day, Uganda’s State Minister of Gender and Cultural Affairs Hon Rukia Nakadama. 

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