GHANA: Banda Girls Demonstrate Against Fgm

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
December 11, 2006
Posted to the web December 11, 2006

By Michael Boateng, Banda Ahenkro

GIRLS OF Banda Traditional Area in the Tain District of Brong Ahafo have expressed their loathe to the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to the Chiefs and people of the area.

Banda Ahenkro, a Muslim dominant community that was noted among the communities in the country fond of practicing FGM or female circumcision, seems to have been putting a stop to the practice due to the effort of some Government and Non-Governmental Organization, which led to the arrest of a 72-year-old woman circumciser about two years ago.

In a well-rehearsed drama, girls from the Banda Boase L/A Junior Secondary School protested that the practice was a violation of human rights of girls and women and it is a grave threat to their health.

The multitude of people who trooped to the Banda Ahenkro Cultural Centre expressed shock, when the girls confirmed some of the trauma their colleagues and women pass through during this awful cultural practice.

They revealed that FGM affect the lives of clients in many diverse ways, which includes physical, sexual and reproductive health, mental, social and emotional.

According to the girls, they were not against cultural or tradition in general but they were against some cultural practices that infringed on the rights of any individual being male or female.

Some of the complication of female circumcision like severe pain, injury to the adjacent tissue of urethra, vagina, perineum and rectum, bleeding shock, acute urine retention, fracture or dislocation, infection as well as general blood poisoning were exposed in their display.

Ghanaian Association for Women's Welfare (GAWW) was the organizer and financier of the programme.

The Executive Director of GAWW, Mrs. Florence Ali urged the Chiefs and people of the area to listen to the plea and cry of the girls and desist from the practice since it is contrary to the laws of the country.

Mrs. Ali enlightened the patrons that the law provides for imprisonment and fines for both those who request, incite, or promote excision by providing money, goods or moral support.

She added that there was documented evidence that Female Circumcision damages the health of girls and women, it infringes on their rights to the highest attainable standard of physical, sexual and mental health.

Mrs. Ali disclosed that there were international conventions supporting the elimination of FGM, since it was associated with gender inequities, as well as a form of discrimination against women and girls, torturous, cruel, inhuman and degrading.

A Senior Ward Assistant at the Banda Ahenkro Health Centre, Esther Kumi revealed that her outfit has been facing challenges when women and girls who have been circumcised come to their end for delivery and other sexually related cases.

She mentioned infertility, urinary tract infections on and off, pelvic inflammatory, keloid scar, calculus formation in vagina, difficulties in menstrual flow and problems in childbirth as some of the problems they faced at the centre.

The Apamuhene of Banda Ahenkro, Nana Sietakyi Tanor who chaired the function on behalf of the Traditional Council, announced that the practice has been stopped and rituals were performed annually to pacify their ancestors and the gods of the land during the date of their festival.

He continued that though the practice have ceased, girls are dressed in the same way as it was done during circumcision but now the circumcision aspect has been removed and girls now cover some of their sensitive parts unlike the previous times when they were totally nude in public.

DATE: 12/12/2006

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