Guest blog by Anna Sørensen.
New play 'CUT' aims to break the silence around FGM
“FGM isn’t something that’s isolated to one place or one group of people. It’s a wider feminist issue, a human issue, which needs to be addressed collectively.”
- Alice Denny
In a recent interview with NewStatesman, actress Alice Denny, who stars as Brona in the new play ‘CUT’, talks about the aims of the play and how female genital mutilation is a human issue.
‘CUT’ explores the reactions of two women when their daughters’ friend is being subjected to FGM. The play is written by Suchitra Chatterjee and Susi Mawell-Stewart and premieres at the BrightHelm Community Centre in Brighton on May 10.
Irish activist group calls for national plan on FGM
The National Steering Committee on FGM is calling on the Irish Government to develop an action plan to ensure that those subjected to or at risk of female genital mutilation will receive proper protection and support. The committee is led by Akidwa, a national network of migrant women living in Ireland.
Read more about the initiative here.
Liberia’s struggle to get a total ban on FGM
Liberia is one of the three remaining African countries where female genital mutilation is yet to be made illegal by law. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president in the country, has repeatedly pledged to fight for women’s rights. However, FGM is still a silenced issue in Liberia: the Sande female secret society promotes and carries out FGM, and the lives of journalists are put at risk if they speak out against the practice.
So far, the country has failed to legislate a bill that includes a total ban on FGM as the introduction of a domestic violence bill last year only protects the lives of girls under the age of 18 or a person 18 or older without their consent. This means there are plenty of loopholes for those who subject their girls to FGM to consent on their behalf, leaving the bill ineffective.
Gambian organisation on national school outreach on FGM
Safe Hands for Girls and Human Dignity Foundation have launched a national school outreach to educate students on the consequences of female genital mutilation. The outreach will be conducted in all regions of The Gambia, and aims to enable students and communities to understand the effects of FGM.
Learn more about the new outreach here.
Indian anti-FGM campaigners criticise community leader after pro-FGM remarks
"Ever since we began the campaign, there has been only silence from the clergy. But now that it's out in the open, at least there's no ambiguity about where they stand.”
- Masooma Ranalvi
Syedna Muffadal Saifuddin, leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community, said he is in support of female genital mutilation in a recent speech at a mosque in Mumbai. Leader of the Indian anti-FGM campaign ‘Speak Out on FGM’, Masooma Ranalvi expressed her disappointment over the community leader’s remarks, but said the campaigners will now focus on petitioning the government, as well as working with the community.
Read the full article here.
Child protection teams formed in Tanzania to end FGM and early marriage
Plan International Tanzania and local NGO, Children’s Dignity Forum, have joined forces in implementing new child protection teams in five wards of Tarime District in Mara Region. The project is funded by the European Union and aims to end female genital mutilation and child marriage by providing sexual health education to 1,500 young girls and 400 young men through their primary and secondary school teachers. Teachers in the involved wards received a three-day intensive training at a hotel in Tarime town last week.
Learn more about the new project here.
German hospital awarded for its work to support FGM survivors
Dr Cornelia Strunz at Walfriede Hospital in Berlin has made it her life mission to help women suffering from consequences of female genital mutilation. Her tireless work has earned her the Louise-Schroeder Medal, which is given to organisations and individuals who advocate for peace, social justice and gender equality.
Learn more here.
Nyamira residents told to fight FGM as a team
“We must work as a team and that is why I am calling the society to come out and say no to the practice. When the community opposes it, then we are likely to curb it.”
- Alice Chae
Speaking at separate events at Gachuba and Bonyamatuta wards in Nyamira County of Kenya, area Women Representative Alice Chae encouraged residents and authorities to work alongside each other in the fight against female genital mutliation.
Learn more about what Chae told the residents of Nyamira here.
British activist and filmmaker wins festival award in New York with anti-FGM film
Ruth Beni is the creative force behind a three-minute animated film based on the testimonies from survivors of female genital mutilation. She decided to use animation to “respect the dignity and anonymity of the survivors while still depicting the full impact of the practice.”
The film was requested by The Guardian as a part of their anti-FGM campaign, and you can read more about it and watch the film here.
Anti-FGM campaigner Assetou Sy tells her story of fighting against her own family to protect her granddaughter from female genital mutilation: “It was wrenching to testify against loved ones, and put our community under such a harsh spotlight. But we could never put the reputation of a community above the health of one of its newest members. Nothing would stop us from keeping our granddaughter whole.”
Toronto Sun’s Sara Macintyre calls for a plan to combat FGM in Canada in a recent opinion column : “It is ugly, uneasy and uncomfortable to talk about such an inhumane act inflicted on an innocent child. But shining a light on this ugliness is the least we can do.”
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.