Campaign update by Anna Sørensen.
UK Women’s Equality Party launches new manifesto
London Mayoral candidate Sophie Walker from Women’s Equality Party recently launched her manifesto of changes the party is pledging to make if it is voted in. One of pledges made by the party is to work in partnership with specialist BME women’s services to ensure cultural related violence, such as female genital mutilation, will never happen in London.
Learn more about the manifesto and read the rest of the pledges here.
Read what all the London Mayor candidates say about tackling violence against women here.
New multimedia graphic novel depicts the trials of tribal Tanzania
“My mother threatened to bind my arms and legs and have me cut by force if I refused.”
- Dorika, 12
When school ends, the cutting season begins and girls at risk of FGM and marriage are forced to flee their families. Dorika from the Mara region in Tanzania is one of them. Get to know her the safe house welcoming the girls in this in-depth article on the prevalence of female genital mutilation and the ‘cutting season’ in Tanzania.
Brisbane couple to appear in court over FGM allegations
A 53-year-old man and his 42-year-old wife are charged for allegedly removing their two daughters from the state last year to have female genital mutilation. The girls were 12 and nine at the time.
Read more about the on-going case here.
The survivors fighting FGM in Egypt
“The genital part of a girl should not be cut: it is exactly the same as a man, he would not be enjoying it and it would be violating his rights. It is the same for girls.”
- Amna Mohamed
In the first part of a new Evening Standard series on FGM by Martin Bentham, we are introduced Egyptian FGM survivors, including to the 27-year-old graduate Amna Mohamed who was subjected to female genital mutilation at the age of 10. She debunks several misconceptions about FGM, especially emphasising how religion has nothing to do with the practice. Egypt has one of the highest rates of FGM in the world, and according to UNICEF figures more than 90 per cent of girls in Egypt aged 15 or over have undergone the procedure.
Also in this series is an article about a female Egyptian doctor who has started a local campaign in the city of Assiut to change attitudes about FGM.
New programme seeks to safeguard Kenyan youth and children’s rights
“More and more of our children’s futures are being compromised. Substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, vulgarity and violence all eat away at our children’s lives.”
- First Lady Margaret Kenyatta
Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has unveiled a mentorship programme that aims to empower Kenyan youth and children to realise their full potential by rejecting all retrogressive practices, such as female genital mutilation and early marriages. The programme is an initiative by the National Assembly Lady Spouses Association of Kenya Nalsa (K).
Learn more about the launch of the new programme and the First Lady’s speech here
Amnesty International UK’s appeal to end harmful practices in West Africa
On 18 April Amnesty International launched their three-month fundraising appeal, urging the British public to push for the elimination of female genital mutilation and child marriage across Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. The official press release for the appeal states the following: “Despite FGM being banned outright in Burkina Faso and effectively prohibited for girls under 18 in Sierra Leone, the practice remains widespread in both countries. According to a 2013 Unicef report, 88% of women and girls in Sierra Leone and 76% in Burkina Faso have been subjected to FGM, putting both countries in the top ten worst affected in the world.”
Learn more about the appeal here and click here to make a donation.
Rotary International takes a stand against female genital mutilation
Secretary of the Rotary Club of Lismore (Australia), Brian Wheatly, took action to make Rotary International support an international resolution to help end female genital mutilation after a failed attempt in 2013. On 14 April this year he was rewarded for his efforts when Rotary International recognised the practice as a crime with 377 delegates from countries all over the world voted for Rotary Club of Lismore’s resolution to eliminate female genital mutilation.
Learn more about Mr Wheatly’s work and Rotary International’s participation to the anti-FGM campaign here.
Youth For Change Ethiopia displays breakthrough in the Afar State
Efforts made by the youth-led campaign in succeeded in raising awareness and taking on board former FGM performers in the Afar State of Ethiopia in March this year. According to a survey from 2011, as much as 60 per cent of girls under 14 from the Afar state are subjected to female genital mutilation. Youth For Change Ethiopia is a part of the global youth-led coalition to end the practice. As a result of their recent work in the Afar State, three women were determined to lead the anti-FGM campaign in their respective neighbourhood.
Learn more about FGM in Ethiopia and the youth-led work here.
New UN report reveals increasing incidents of FGM in Guinea
While the majority of FGM practicing countries are making increased efforts in eliminating the practice, supporters in Guinea have increased 11 per cent between 1999 and 2012. Recent UN statistics reveal that 69 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 were mutilated before the age of 10, and that there has been an increase in infants and toddlers undergoing the procedure. National Guinean law forbids female genital mutilation, still girls who have not undergone female genital mutilation are considered dishonourable in the Guinean society.
Learn more here, here and here.
Anti-FGM campaigner makes prestigious list over influential women
Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian FGM survivor and anti-FGM activist, has made it to Time 100’s list over “13 of the World’s Most Influential Women You Don’t Know Yet”. Through her tireless work she has managed to get US President Barack Obama to speak out against female genital mutilation, and have the practice banned in Gambia.
Learn more about Jaha Dukureh and her work via The Guardian, and access the full Time 100 list here.
Royal College of Nursing launches of new guidance on FGM for nurses and midwives
The third edition of the RCN resource for nursing and midwifery practice aims to raise awareness about female genital mutilation, and to provide insight and understanding of the socio-cultural, legal and health issues about the practice.
Learn more about the new publication here and access the full resource here.
Gambian charity launches new project to reduce gender-based violence
“With the project’s focus areas, it is simultaneously contributing to ensure that Gambian girls and women receive quality healthcare when facing FGM/C complications and also empowering communities to abandon FGM/C through culturally sensitive strategies.”
- EU Ambassador H.E. Attila Lajos
Wassu Gambia Kafo, a Gambian charity that aims to to promote cooperation and development between The Gambia and Spain in the field of health, research and education, has recently launched their new project “Evidence into Action – Applied Research and Knowledge Transfer for the management and prevention of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in The Gambia”.
The Evidence into Action Project aims to reduce FGM in The Gambia by strengthening the Gambian health system’s ability to manage and prevent the practice. The project will be implemented in the West Coast Region and Central River Region and was launched by EU Ambassador H.E. Attila Lajos and Professor Adriana Kaplan Marcusan, Director of Wassu Gambia Kafo, at the Paradise Suites Hotel last week.
Read more about the new project here.
New FGM guidance for family lawyers
Lawyers who suspect they are dealing with survivors of female genital mutilation now has a guide that aims to encourage them to raise the issue with their clients. It was the family law organisation Resolution that launched the ‘toolkit’ at its annual conference in Gateshead earlier this week. Chair of the organisation, Nigel Shepherd, has previously stated that famiy lawyers “can play an important role in supporting victims of FGM”.
Learn more about the new ‘toolkit’ for layers here.
Lindsay Crouse writes about the progress in the anti-FGM campaign in Somalia in a recent blog for The New York Times: “This is an exciting post to write because it concerns a positive milestone in the long, harsh history of the practice widely known as ‘female genital mutilation.’”
Hilary Burrage explains how FGM is a costly, organised crime against women and girls and calls for governments and international agencies to speak out against the practice in a recent article on The Guardian: “Girls experiencing FGM in places such as the UK may, like their African counterparts, withdraw from school, especially as they reach puberty, resulting in an alienation from mainstream society.”
Mona Elthawy writes about why we need to talk about female genital mutilation, and calls for a revolution in a recent blog for The Guardian: “Something that hurts so many girls and women is kept silent and taboo because it has to do with our vaginas and with sex. The biggest obstacle in the global fight against FGM is the reluctance to talk about the practice.”
28 Too Many volunteer Anna Sørensen is studying journalism at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Anna’s writes regular blogs which report on progress in the campaign to end FGM in the UK and internationally.