DJIBOUTI: First Country To Launch The Joint UNFPA/UNICEF Global Programe To Accelerate The Abandonment of FGM/C

DJIBOUTI, 8 May 2008 Djibouti First Lady Ms Kadra Mahamoud Had launched the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme and Trust Fund to accelerate the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Djibouti is one of the 17 countries that have been selected in Africa to implement the UNFPA/UNICEF joint program.
For every 10 women and girls, nine have undergone FGM/C in Djibouti. The practice of FGM/C transcends cultural, racial, and socio-economic dimensions.

A WHO study (2006) on link of FGM/C and obstetric outcome in six African countries confirmed that deliveries by women who have undergone FGM/C are significantly more likely to have caesarean section, risks for extensive bleeding, prolonged labour, and death. The risk increases with the extent of cutting, with greatest risk experienced by women who have undergone type III of FGM/C (infibulation) as it is frequently the case in Djibouti. At global level, UNICEF estimates that every year approximately 3 millions girls are being at risk of FGM/C.

UNFPA and UNICEF are committed to support the abandonment of FGM/C globally because of its harmful effects on the reproductive and sexual health of women and girls and it violates their rights and dignity. One of the major strategies is building partnership with Government, donors, foundations, the media and religious leaders.

The First Lady Ms Kadra Mahamoud Had stressed, “I consider the joint program to accelerate the abandonment of FGM/C as a route towards social progress, as a tool to fulfill the basic human rights especially on integrity and dignity for girls and women. Noting that the FGM/C is gender based violence, the Government of Djibouti has set up legal and institutional mechanism to eradicate the violence.”

FGM/C is a manifestation of gender inequalities. Abandonment of FGM/C will therefore contribute to the empowerment of women; improvement of maternal health and reduction of child mortality.

From the community perspective, FGM/C is a practice in which communities attach special values. These values range from marriagiability, to reduction of deviant behaviours among girls and women and often associated with religion; therefore this practice is collectively enforced.

Dialogue among communities need to be encouraged and facts put on the table regarding the harm this practice is causing to a large segment of population in these communities. “Every community desires to live in dignity and security. This is however not possible when human rights of one segment of society is denied that dignity” said Ms Margaret Thuo talking on behalf of UNICEF and UNFPA.

The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Mr. Hamoud Abdi Souldan, committed himself to influence “Oulemas” and Imams towards FGM/C abandonment. In Djibouti, the voice of religious leaders is critical to address FGM/C.

The Minister of Women Promotion, Family Welfare and Social Affairs, Ms Nimo Boulhan said: “Geographically, culturally and socially, We Djiboutians are part of a region where the harmful FGM/C practices remain intensely persistent. Whatever the justifications are; we need to address this problem and stop subjecting girls and women to unnecessary suffering”.

The launch was attended by among others, President of the National Assembly, 12 Ministers- 20 Parliamentarians,   15 Representatives of District Councils, and United Nations Country Teams, Faith Based Organizations and NGOs.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, contact:

Omar HABIB, UNICEF Communication Specialist, Djibouti: +253-31-41-21
Fathia OMAR, UNICEF, Protection Officer, Djibouti: +253-31-41-17
Aicha DJAMA, UNFPA,  Djibouti: +253-84-69-60-


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DATE: 18/05/2008

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