(Dar-es-Salaam/Addis, 11th October 2023)
The 2nd International Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is underway in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, from October 9th to 11th, under the theme “Change in a Generation.” World Vision commends the African Union and the Government of the Republic of Tanzania for hosting this crucial event, which also coincides with the International Day of the Girl.
The conference aims to assess progress made in eliminating FGM in Africa, where 160 million women and girls have undergone the practice that is prevalent in parts of West, East, Central, and Northern Africa. The urgency to end FGM has gained momentum, with international, regional, national and local organisations, including youth and child activists, calling for an immediate elimination of this harmful practice. “It's violence against children and no girl should go through FGM particularly because it violates their rights and takes away their childhood” reminisces Tenema, Sierra Leone.
The United Nations and the African Union recognises FGM as a violation of girls’ rights and have endorsed initiatives like the AU Saleema Initiative and the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation to eliminate this harmful practice. Article 5 of the Maputo Protocol strongly condemns all forms of abuse against women and girls, emphasising legislative measures and sanctions to eradicate harmful practices.
States Parties shall prohibit and condemn all forms of harmful practices which negatively affect the human rights of women and which are contrary to recognised international standards. States Parties shall take all necessary legislative and other measures to eliminate such practices, including: prohibition, through legislative measures backed by sanctions, of all forms of female genital mutilation, scarification, medicalisation and para-medicalisation of female genital mutilation and all other practices in order to eradicate them
- Maputo protocol on Women’s Rights
World Vision recognises the severe physical and psychological consequences of FGM on girls and women, including pain, infections, and complications during childbirth. FGM also deprives girls of their rights to education and bodily integrity. “It is easier to get transmitted diseases such as HIV during an act of cutting as they use the same razor blade or knife for all girls, I am grateful to my aunt who saved me from being married and circumcised” according to a girl from Simanjiro, Tanzania.
Female Genital Mutilation persists due to gender inequality and entrenched cultural beliefs, often preceding child marriage. Despite being illegal in many countries, economic, social and cultural pressures force girls and young women into this practice.
Turning the tide on child marriage and FGM requires a multi-sector approach to create lasting change, as such World vision through it’s Big Dream Project is working to address this. The approach follows the WHO’s evidence-based strategies for best practices in child protection work. The Big Dream changes social norms harmful to children, empowers parents and caregivers with knowledge and skills to enable them take daily sustainable actions for (i) protecting children from physical and sexual violence, child marriage, FGM, and other forms of violence against children, (ii) strengthens household economic conditions to reduce financial incentives for child marriage, (iii) promotes education and life skills training for girls. The three-pronged approach reinforces the role of the family and community leaders, sustainable family incomes and the importance of education.
Progress has been made in recent years in the fight against FGM. The practice is declining fast among girls aged 15 to 19 in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Liberia and Togo among other countries, which is very commendable. Despite the large number of laws that ban FGM, prosecutions are rare, and there is limited information available on prosecutions or the outcomes of any prosecutions made in recent years.
World Vision calls for ;
- Urgent action at the 2nd International FGM conference, emphasising the need for collective resolve and commitment from State Parties, aligning with the African Union Agenda 2063 aspiration of a people-driven Africa that safeguards women, youth, and children by ending all forms of gender-based violence, especially FGM.
- Accelerated efforts and investments in girls’ education in line with the African continental strategy for education
- Enforcing existing legislation and policies banning FGM particularly, efforts to contain cross-border FGM
- Support families with economic opportunities and implement social protection policies where they exist
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For further information please contact:
World Vision Africa Union Liaison Office:
Director, African Union Liaison Office
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World Vision Tanzania:
James Ang'awa Anditi
National Director, World Vision Tanzania
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World Vision East Africa:
Regional Manager - Communications & Public Engagement I World Vision East Africa
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