TANZANIA: Anti-FGM activists asked to unite

Victor Kwayu, PST, Moshi
Cooperation among stakeholders in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) will make the campaign easier and successful said Christina Choumaini.

Choumaini, an activist with the Moshi based Network Against Female Genital Mutilation (NAFGEM), was speaking to a delegation of NGO officials engaged in the fight against FGM from Burkina Faso (ABN-Burkina Faso) recently.
She said that co-operation among groups fighting the evil in Burkina Faso had made commendable success due to solidarity.

``When different groups which fight against the evil unite together in the fight, we record a big success against the evil``, she said.

Choumaini said that the visit by ABN-Burkina Faso officials was a chance for both sides to exchange experience and learn from each other thus creating solidarity in war against FGM.

Speaking during the visit, the President of ABN-Burkina Faso, Poyga Sawadogo said that success in the campaign against the evil was a result of co-operation between different stakeholders in war against FGM.

``As a result we have been able to reduce the rate of female circumcision in Burkina Faso from 87 per cent in 1998 to 46 per cent last year, ``she said.

She said that her organisation had trained animators to do the campaign from house to house in the villages.

Adding that the campaign has been facing some challenges including the high rate of illiterate persons in the country.

``Another challenge is that many of those who were expected to do the campaign by translating the laws which prohibit FGM hesitate to do so because they fear the traditional leaders who would like to maintain FGM saying that it is an important tradition that should be observed,`` she said.

Sawadogo said that despite the challenges, success has been possible and this has being contributed by among other things the decision by young men not to marry circumcised girls.

She said to make it easy for the animators to work with the traditional leaders; they have been trained on diplomatic ways of giving education about the evil practice like discussing issues regarding the danger of HIV/AIDS and move on to the war against FGM.

SOURCE: Guardian
Date: 2/13/2007
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