Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Parliament has approved a bill banning female genital mutilation.

"Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo said that the new law, passed without opposition late Thursday, could give offenders a life sentence."

What a shame

""Some of these NGOs are exploiting donors by demanding money to fight circumcision of girls, yet they do very little on the ground," said Mrs Rose Kilimo, the founder of the Chetastai Girls' Project -- a project that was started in 2003 to fight FGM."

Monday, December 21, 2009

International Day against FGM in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on February 06, 2010

"Op zaterdag 6 februari 2010 organiseert Platform 6/2 in Engels Grandcafe in Rotterdam de Internationale Dag Zero Tolerance tegen vrouwelijke genitale verminking. Centraal staat de vraag: wat is de impact van vrouwelijke genitale verminking (vgv) op vrouwen, mannen, gezinnen en de gemeenschap?"

Collective abandonment in Somalia

It took three years of hard and persistant work but the result is worth it. Of course abandoning, rejecting and saying that FGM should be stopped is one thing. Now instances need to be created to check that indeed there is no more FGM going on.

"Last month, hundreds of men, women and children gathered in a Somali stadium in the early morning heat to witness a historic declaration: the collective abandonment of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) by representatives from 20 communities.

The event, attended and lauded by women’s activists, religious leaders and local government officials, was the culmination of over three years’ work by the international non-governmental organization Tostan and its local partner, the Somaliland Culture and Sports Association (SOCSA)."

Way to go in Uganda

"Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo said that the new law, passed without opposition late Thursday, could give offenders a life sentence.
Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is practiced mostly in northeastern Uganda on more than 3,000 girls each December."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's going to be extremely difficult

After reading this article, it is really difficult to stay positive and motivated. But the struggle MUST continue. Even if only one girl a year is saved from FGM, it's worth the battle. So, let's forget what's in the article and look towards the future and see what can be done to eradicate FGM.

"Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country. Parents typically take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays, but The Independent on Sunday has been told that "cutters" are being flown to the UK to carry out the mutilation at "parties" involving up to 20 girls to save money.

The police face growing criticism for failing to prosecute a single person for carrying out FGM in 25 years; new legislation from 2003 which prohibits taking a girl overseas for FGM has also failed to secure a conviction.

An estimated 70,000 women living in the UK have undergone FGM, and 20,000 girls remain at risk, according to Forward."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bill ready in Uganda

Let's hope the bill will pass.

"A Bill outlawing female genital mutilation is ready to be presented to the House for the second reading and be passed into law, MPs have been told. She urged people in communities where the practice is still rampant to report perpetrators and parents who subject their girl-children to genital mutilation. Upon conviction for indulging in the practice, one faces a maximum jail term of 10 years."


ADRA against FGM.

"The deep effect that violence against women and girls is having around the world is not only stalling the development of millions of women, but also that of their families, communities, and entire societies, reports the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). "

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Campaign in The Netherlands

"The “ Say no to FGM” campaign will widen the approach that the government believes has been successful in pilot programmes in six Dutch cities. It involves informing health professionals and targeting groups and families that are at risk. FGM is illegal in the Netherlands and subject to criminal prosecution."

Reverse Development Cooperation

Unfortunately, when people move from country to another, they do not leave certain practices at the border. And just because they are in another country, they want to prove that they are a real citizen from their homeland by being more conservative.

"She said the government plans to call in help from African countries such as Senegal to help eradicate female genital mutilation in the Netherlands, in what she describes as “reverse development cooperation”. According to the deputy minister, while some African countries had taken great strides in stamping out the practice, immigrants in the Netherlands sometimes remained more conservative in retaining the custom than people in their homeland."

One of the reasons

Understanding why people still mutilate their family members is one of the keys to solve this problem. This doesn't mean that once we understand the why we need to agree or approve it. It is just the first step in the fight to eradicate the practice of FGM.

"A larger clitoris resembling a small penis may have been the cause of female genital mutilation in many African traditions to keep young girls from being male and female at the same time.

My investigation into the whole part brought me to find out what the old Sebei woman in Bugerere Uganda told me. In the old times when girls were checked for adulthood while reaching puberty, they found out that the girls had a penis like creature on top of their Vagina`s something that made the elders think that the female was abnormal. Having two organisms these days is a tough thought in our modern world. And though tiny and some invisible, the truth is that one cannot dispute the fact that many women have a little male looking part hidden inside them."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Malaysiakini: Female circumcision a la M’sia

FGM in Malaysia

"Interestingly, of the four Islamic schools of thought, only Shafie deems the practice compulsory, while all others say it is unnecessary because evidence for such a requirement is weak.
Both sides trace their view on their understanding of a hadith which reads: ‘Reduce the size of the clitoris but do not exceed the limit, for that is better for her health and is preferred by the husband.’"

Eradicate violence against women: Ban Ki-moon

This what Ban Ki-moon had to say:

“Our goal is clear: an end to these inexcusable crimes -- whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called 'honor' crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

FGM and Italy

What is Italy doing about it?

"Among the numerous actions taken by our country in this context, there is one that Italy has been committed to since the mid-1980s, beginning with Somalia, and which has involved us recently at the United Nations: female genital mutilation. In addition to launching, together with the UN agencies, an international campaign to prevent this practice, last September, at the fringe of the 64th General Assembly, I presided over an initial meeting attended by cabinet ministers from countries which, like Italy, have espoused this cause."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

FGM in Ghana

Good article explaining what is wrong in Ghana and every other place where one still finds FGM.

"Recently a man divorced his Wife for showing ecstacy during sex. He saw her as a spoilt woman and a thief who 'stole' what was reserved for him. It is to ensure man's monopoly that today about 140 million people in Ghana and globally are victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In fact today in every five minutes a female in Ghana or elsewhere becomes a victim of FGM."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dignity Alert and Research Forum (DARF)

"DARF is currently campaigning for the elimination of child/forced marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM) in Tanzania and Scotland. "

Monday, November 9, 2009

State of inertia

What is the world waiting for?

"The statistics are staggering and mind-boggling, but one is amazed at the worlds’ state of inertia which has aided the continuation of these practices. On every other issue, the world has reacted with swift and decisive measures to either modify behavior, save the victims or make offences against humanity punishable. On this particular issue and all other injustices against women, there seems to be a collective lack of will to implement the right and adequate measures to ensure women’s safety, sexual dignity, and respect for self-determination."

Friday, November 6, 2009

End FGM and Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon receives honorary degree from the UW.

"Known as an advocate for universal human rights and social justice, Ban has been a major proponent of women’s rights in Africa and India. Putting an end to female genital mutilation, child brides, and “honor deaths” are on his to-do list with the United Nations."

Thursday, November 5, 2009


"THE United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have launched a joint programme to end female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2012. "

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Huge problem

How can someone be against mutilation with this type of life-long lasting consequences? FGM is not just (a) little cut(s) on an arm or leg done during a rite or habit. The consequences of FGM are unidirectional; what has been cut away is ... away. Forever. That is one fact. Another fact is that the victims are constantly reminded in one way or another that (a) part(s) of their body is (are) missing. Sometimes just by going to the bathroom, when having sex with their partner, when giving birth and sometimes just because they are alive. If the mutilation happened with dirty and rusty instruments, infections can occur. And then there are all the invisible scars caused by the psychological damage.

Mutilation because of "cultural sensitivity"? What about the sensitivity of the kid that is being mutilated? The kid definitely didn't ask for it. No sensitivity can justify mutilation with this kind of consequences especially if someone else (be it the parents) has made that decision.

"In the United States, an analysis of census data by the African Women's Health Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston shows that (based on families' countries of origin) more than nearly 228,000 females have been or are at risk of being subjected to FGM, with more than 38,000 of them in California and nearly 26,000 in New York State."

"The resistance to ending FGM or creating less harmful rites of passage for girls is not confined to developing countries. "For reasons that I don't understand, there's this resurgence of debate around 'rites or rights' in this country," Bien-Aimé said. "It's extremely disturbing." Campaigns against the practice are being challenged on cultural sensitivity by anthropologist and other academics."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No more getting "dirt" out here.

"“We called it ‘getting the dirt out,’ but we never said it out loud, because it was taboo,” said Bogaletch Gebre, founder chief executive officer of KMG, who returned to Kembatta, her birth place, in 1997, to start the NGO that would fight for the human rights of women and improve the environment for all people in the region."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Arrests in Uganda

"Police has arrested 10 parents in Looro Sub County , Moroto district who allegedly last week conducted female genital mutilation on their daughters."

Thursday, October 29, 2009


How in the world is this possible? And in New York of all places.

"Census data from 2000 indicates that over 40,000 women and girls are at risk in the metropolitan region of New York, Northern New Jersey and Long Island. Metropolitan New York is considered to have the highest concentration of women and girls at risk of undergoing FGM in the US, yet there is little awareness or services to address the specific needs of these women and girls."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What a shame

4-year old bleeds to death after FGM.

Involve men

Depending on the circumstances men need to be involved in the fight against the eradication of FGM. In this camp it looks like they came up with a very interesting initiative.

"Eradication of FGM/C in the Dadaab refugee camps was hampered by lack of support from men. The involvement of men in tackling the challenge is critical because they are the custodians of culture and gate keepers on religious issues."

Soccer ball and t-shirts with "I will mary an uncircumcised girl" on it were used to inform and educate the male community.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

After the mutilation the reconstruction

Once the damage is done and the girl/woman needs to face the consequences every single day of her life, female circumcision reversal might help to get them through life and eventually to turn a page.

The right fight but

The fight is right but it has consequences .... And laws after all are generated somewhere in a capital far away from the harsh reality. They are a piece of paper (they certainly are necessary) but laws in and of themselves will not necessarily change attitudes, customs, traditions and beliefs.

"Jane Frances Kuka, the former Gender Minister and former woman Member of Parliament (MP) for Kapchorwa district, an area that has laws banning female circumcision, lost her parliamentary seat partly for having campaigned against female genital mutilation."

"Gertrude Kulany, also a former MP, says banning the practice through the law alone may not be the answer. She tells IPS that there should be affirmative action aimed at increasing girl-child education so that young girls themselves were educated enough to refuse to undergo the practice."

Signs in Kenya

Everything helps, big signs too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to Make Women's Rights THE Issue of the 21st Century

According to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali victim of genital mutilation who wrote a screenplay about the mistreatment of Islamic women, FGM can be stopped if we or some of us:
  • are intolerant of intolerance
  • question infallibility of religion
  • stop being timid
  • stop being poltically correct
  • apply unbending persistence.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Good example in Somalia

It is possible, the practice of FGM (rather than FGC) can be stopped.

"In Puntland, where an estimated 98% of the population practices FGC, declaration provides new way forward. 14 villages in the Northeast Zone of Somalia – Puntland – made history on Monday as they became the first group of communities in the region to collectively pledge to abandon the practice of female genital cutting (FGC). These communities participated in an empowering three-year education program implemented by the NGO Tostan in collaboration with UNICEF and the Government of Puntland."

What are they waiting for?

"Violence against women is a global pandemic and the facts are staggering. Though the United States has an important vehicle to combat it - the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) - the Act lies dormant. I-VAWA was introduced in the US Congress in 2007, but never came to a vote before Congress adjourned. It was re-introduced in 2008, but has not been introduced in 2009, although a strong coalition of organizations has circulated petitions. "

A first step in the good direction in Sierra Leone

FGM needs to be eradicated alltogether full stop. But waiting until the girl is 18 so that she can make her own decision is a first step in the good direction.

"Recently some progress has been made towards eliminating FGM, by addressing the women that actually perform the ceremony, the sowies (initiators). Many have agreed to stop forcing girls below the age of 18 to undergo circumcision. Also, in some parts of the country they've consented to give it up as altogether if provided an alternate source of livelihood."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Not in Europe? Think again ...

Unfortunately one does not need to cross oceans to encounter FGM. They can be found in our own backyards...

"... a recent Istituo Piepoli survey commissioned by the Italian Department for Equal Opportunities estimated that 35,000 immigrant women here have undergone the "procedure".

Winner of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, 2009

"After a long absence from the literary scene Henry ole Kulet is back, this time with Blossoms of the Savannah. This novel mainly dwells with the touchy issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)."

"In spite of its obvious harmful effects, FGM refuses to die, as the lobbyists would expects it to. Could it be that their approach to the whole issue is wrong?"

Tasaru Ntomonok Center a safe haven for girls in Kenya

"The Tasaru Ntomonok Center run by Agnes Pareyio is a safe haven for girls escaping FGM/FGC and forced marriages."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stop FGM in Kurdistan

"Female genital mutilation is recognized in international conventions as a human rights violation and a severe form of violence against women and children. For several decades, international and local agencies and organizations have been campaigning against it in various countries of Africa, and more recently in Europe as well.
But in Iraq, as in other countries of the Middle East, official documents of governments and United Nations agencies alike, still neglect this abuse.
Women in Iraqi-Kurdistan have broken the silence. In 2005, reports indicated that in several areas, nearly 60 % of the women had been mutilated. Activists and physicians reported similar rates from other parts of the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Former doctor faces trial

"A former doctor accused of sexually assaulting and mutilating his female patients will face trial early next year.",25197,26154835-12377,00.html

Don'f forget that women also have rights

It is already strange that in some countries women need to be protected by laws just to be able to enjoy BASIC human rights. If on top of that now some people need to be reminded of that ....

"Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged countries not to waver in their commitments to women and girls in the midst of the ongoing economic crisis, particularly in ensuring their basic human rights."

Way to go in Mali

"Dat is wat Willems met dit project beoogt: informatie en voorlichting geven, onderzoek doen naar achterliggende oorzaken van besnijdenis en met vrouwen in gesprek gaan. „Het is moeilijk om daarvan een goed beeld te krijgen; het gaat verder dan een eerste gesprek. Er kunnen allerlei motieven een rol spelen: culturele en religieuze. Het komt onder moslims en onder christenen voor.” Om het project te verankeren in de samenleving is contact gelegd met een lokale organisatie. Belangrijk in het plan is ook het opleiden van mensen ter plaatse. "

It can be done, one woman at the time.

It is really unfortunate to read that "While in most countries the rates are going down, in Sudan due to the war in Darfur, it seems like it is actually spreading and being moved to tribes that never used to practice it."

"It has been forty-two years and my mother still hasn’t forgotten the day her parents decided to cut her, or perform Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on her. She almost died giving birth to me because of a tradition that my grandmother was fearful to break."

But here is what Esraa Bani has to say: "Unlike many parents in northern Sudan, my mother (with the ultimate support of my father) decided to break this old sacred tradition. My mother refused to cut me and my sister. Her strength empowered her sisters to stop the tradition as well. This revolution started with ONE woman who said “enough is enough”, ONE family at a time, from ONE generation to the other."

And it is Esraa Bani who received a "Honorable Mention" during the "Half the Sky" competition.

Friday, October 2, 2009

GAMCOTRAP Calls for Legislation against FGM

"GAMCOTRAP has in a press release issued to the local media houses in The Gambia called for a legislation against Female Genital Mutilation ."

Mariam Lamizana

"Mariam Lamizana, a government minister in Burkina Faso and an activist in the fight against the genital mutilation of women was nominated by the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group (ELD/EFD). ",european-parliament-unveils-sakharov-prize-nominations.html

Yeah right

We are not there yet!

"The practice is still widespread in spite of a global commitment following the 2002 UN Special Session on Children to end FGM by 2010."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Save the girls one at a time ....

That's the spirit:

"But Tengbom says with the communities help, she's able to save the young girls, one at a time.
"We don't want to change the whole culture, we just want to remove things that are really not important for women to go through" said Tengbom."

Small project in Ghana

It looks like this small scale project seems to work.,0,2966599.story

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

The way to go

FGM is no laughing matter in Scandinavian countries:
"In Scandinavian countries, female circumcision is illegal even if it happens in another country and even if the practice is legal in that country. It does not matter if the victim said yes, it is still illegal. Perpetrators — such as a girl’s parents — are being prosecuted upon return to Scandinavia and face up to 10 years in prison."

And that it is not easy is sure:
"Jail sentences, record damages and controversial immigration laws are Scandinavia’s weapons in this war. Meanwhile Africans — who have immigrated with their families for a better life in northern Europe — wring their hands, imploring Westerners to understand that they are doing what they think is best for their daughters."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stop FGM in Kurdistan

The issue of female genital mutilation is still something of a taboo in Kurdistan. But there is one person that wants to change this: Ms. Arif, herself a FGM-victim.

"Ms. Arif wants female genital mutilation to be outlawed in Kurdistan. She also wants women who were subjected to FGM be treated physically and mentally. They should have teams of support tending to their needs."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Father cleared

There is apparently no doubt that the girl underwent female circumcision but not sufficient evidence to convict her father.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"The Cut"

“The Cut” focuses on female genital mutilation and tells the story of two Kenyan girls, who are affected by fgm. The film explains why it is still so widespread in Kenya and suggests a way to eradicate this mutilation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ethiopia FGM Abandonment

There is still a lot of work to do....

"Data from the Ethiopia 2005 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) indicate that 74 per cent of women aged 15-49 have undergone some form of FGM/C. There are significant regional differences ranging from 27% (Gambela) and 29% (Tigray) to 92% (Afar) and 97% (Somali region).
According to the DHS, There has been a 6% decline in prevalence of FGM/C from 80% to 74% between 2000 and 2005. Figures from a 1998 baseline and 2008 follow-up survey conducted by the National Association for Eradicating Traditional Harmful Practices (EGLDAM) estimates that the current prevalence rate is 56%."

Desert Flower - Waris Dirie's story

"Desert Flower", premiered at the Venice Film Festival. It is the story of Waris Dirie model and now campaigner against female genital mutilation.

The most disturbing sentence in the article is the following:

"In New York City 40,000 girls a year are mutilated."

Father supposedly mutilates own daughter

In Haarlem, for the first time in the Netherlands, a man of Moroccan origin and the father of the five year-old, is on trial for female genital mutilation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Equality? ‘Real Muslim women in Mali don’t want it – it’s un-Islamic!’

How does one tackle this problem? A law is voted to protect women and the response is:

"We have to stick to the Koran. A man must protect his wife, a wife must obey her husband. It’s a tiny minority of women here that wants this new law – the intellectuals. The poor and illiterate women of this country – the real Muslims – are against it."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good example in Kenya

Women educating their daughters is the way to go.

"The village women support themselves through the sale of their jewelry, as well as collectively-owned livestock. With training from Vital Voices, the women of Umoja Uaso are also challenging the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and educating their daughters - a rarity in the Samburu culture. "

Men? No thank you.

One can wonder if this is the solution.

"The village, based 350 kilometers west of the capital of Nairobi, was started by a group of 14 women who decided to escape the dominance of men and live according to their own rules, Germany's Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported on Wednesday.

Called Umoja, or unity in Swahili, the village has become a safe-haven for women escaping arranged marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM) or rape and abuse."

Laws must be linked to cultural practices

The "International Federation of Women Lawyers" (FIDA) in Ghana wants to link cultural practices to the country's legal framework.

"Mrs Dadzie said even though Ghana was a signatory to most international charters and treaties on human rights, it was difficult to strictly implement them since their implementations had been seen as an abuse of some traditional and cultural practices in the country."

Saturday, August 15, 2009


WADI has devoted much of its efforts to one particular issue: female genital mutilation.

"As the first organization in Iraqi Kurdistan to open a women’s shelter, WADI is an authority on women’s issues in the region, an area of great concern to any activist or observer concerned with true democratization and respect for human rights."

Jimmy Carter did it.

The former president of the United States Jimmy Carter has announced that he is leaving the "Southern Baptist Church" and this after sixty years because of its treatment of girls and women.

"At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities."

"The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. "

Friday, August 14, 2009

First arrest in Egypt

"An Egyptian man has been charged with illegally circumcising a young girl on Thursday, making him the first person to face the law since Cairo criminalized the controversial practice of female genital mutilation, or FGM."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Female genital cutting raises childbirth risks

"In the new study, doctors at the University of Berne, in Switzerland, followed 122 pregnant women with a history of genital mutilation who received prenatal care at their medical center. They compared their childbirth outcomes with 110 other women the same age who delivered at the hospital."

The rather strange part was that

"A small number of women wanted to have the vaginal opening re-stitched after giving birth -- a request they were denied because it is medically inadvisable, as well as illegal in Switzerland, the researchers note."

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

Established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights which came into force on 21 October 1986 after its adoption in Nairobi (Kenya) in 1981 by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU.), the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is charged with ensuring the promotion and protection of Human and Peoples' Rights throughout the African Continent. The Commission has its headquarters in Banjul, The Gambia.

The countries have agreed as follows:

"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; "

Hopefully this decision will be enforced.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mrs. Goundo's Daughter

A new DVD showing the fight of a mother to stay in the U.S. in order to protect her daughter against FGM.

"Mrs. Goundo is fighting to remain in the United States. But it’s not just because of the ethnic conflict and drought that has plagued her native Mali. Threatened with deportation, her two-year-old daughter could be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), like 85 percent of women and girls in Mali. Using rarely cited grounds for political asylum, Goundo must convince an immigration judge that her daughter is in danger."


This is indeed one of the biggest problems in the fight against FGM: who implements. Implementing, controlling, checking means that the implementers, controllers and checkers must have received information and training. They must be very sensistive, careful and know how to handle a case. They also need to know how to slow down and eventually eradicate this practice. But reality unfortunately tells us another story.

"Our problem is; who implements?" She said. "The police, who are supposed to be implementing it, are not even aware or sensitised. So, the practice still goes on because culture dies hard."
According to a copy of the bill passed into law in Edo State, a circumciser shall serve a six-month imprisonment or pay a fine of N1,000 or both if caught, while in Ogun State the penalty is one year imprisonment."