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."