Sex Rights Africa Network members attend various events marking International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM

Various Sex Rights Africa Network members attended events marking International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, an annual International Day dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of FGM, and encouraging the abandonment of the practice in communities worldwide.

UN Women data shows that at least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone FGM in 30 countries where representative data is available. The majority of girls were cut before age 5 in these cases.

Immediate complications resulting from FGM include “severe pain, shock, haemorrhage, tetanus or infection, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissue, wound infection, urinary infection, fever, and septicemia. Haemorrhage and infection can be severe enough to cause death. Long-term consequences include complications during childbirth,  anaemia, the formation of cysts and abscesses, keloid scar formation, damage to the urethra resulting in urinary incontinence, dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), sexual dysfunction, hypersensitivity of the genital area and increased risk of HIV transmission, as well as psychological effects.” (UNFPA/WHO)

Magdaline Majuma of Msichana Empowerment Kuria attended a gathering of more than 3,000 community members, policy makers, cultural leaders, girls, elders, government and activists to mark the historical public declaration of abandonment of FGM in Loita Hills, Kenya, on 6 February.

The gathering was organised to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, and was orchestrated by S.A.F.E. Kenya.

Images by S.A.F.E. Kenya #EndFGM #ZeroTolerance4FGM

Network Member, Michael Marwa, joined stakeholders in Tarime, Tanzania, on a Youth Conference hosted by Msichana Initiative, together with the Association for the Termination of Female Genital Mutilation (ATFGM) Masanga, Hope for Girls and Women, Plan International, Terre des Homme and C-Sema. At the conference, youth voices were amplified to call for concrete action from government and political bodies to ensure that there is a zero tolerance approach to perpetrators of FGM.

The conference brought together over 200 young people in a dialogue on positive social norms and type of leadership they need to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in their communities. Both boys and girls identified interventions that they feel have been effective in ending FGM and child marriage thus far.

A panel discussion with young people, traditional leaders and a retired cutter as well as presentations from the youth to government officials on actions needed to accelerate progress to end FGM and child marriage helped highlight what is working but also that there is still more work to be done to involve communities more and have them at the forefront of fighting FGM. The youth called for every community member, man & woman, young & old, leader & citizen to play their part in ending this practice.

Alongside the Youth Conference, the EU, UNFPA and Sweden launched a joint social media campaign on Ending FGM by 2030, using audio-visual stories with social media influencers and six positive results on interventions from 2018. The campaign #NOFGM2030 and #UKEKETAJIBASI2030 took off with Diana Lukumay’s journey on Instagram and Twitter

Images from Michael Marwa.

Did you or your organisation attend or host an event for International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM? If so, tell us more here.

Find more information on FGM here.