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UGANDA: Here Is Another Perspective Of Fighting FGM

According to the World Health Organisation, about three million girls in Africa are at risk of undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) annually and already, 92 million girls of 10 years and above are estimated to have undergone the practice. In Uganda, it’s practiced in the Sebei region.
FGM involves all procedures aimed at partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. It’s vital to stress that FGM has no single health benefit for girls and women who undergo it. Instead, it has several complications: increased risk of child birth complications associated with new born deaths, need for surgeries to allow sexual intercourse and child birth by cutting again to create an opening and after birth, etc.

For whatever reason, FGM is a culture identity practice. The procedure is carried out as an initiation of a girl into womanhood. It is so well ingrained into the cultures that practice it that they believe the abolition of FGM would lead to the demise of their culture. In order to be able to eliminate the practice, we must eliminate the cultural belief that a girl will not become a woman and have all the benefits of womanhood without undergoing FGM.

All avenues must be explored in the fight against FGM to trigger massive awareness if we are to achieve attitude change. Crowd-sourcing information on FGM by tracking voices of the victims of FGM and other members of society who support elimination of the practice is crucial. The user-powered service provides a platform (website) where information about FGM (existent literature and data from the ground) is pooled and its contents discussed online.

The key component of the platform is the ability to innovatively use mobile phones as a fundamental means of both sending FGM related incidents and receiving real time updates which comes handy in areas where Internet is unreliable. Collected data is then visualised and shared with police, advocacy groups, media houses, etc to call for appropriate action in the circumstances.

Upon visiting the platform, a user is provided with a wide range of information (news, blogs, photos, video sources) that contain coverage of FGM with a button for subscribing to receive latest submissions via mobile phone or Email free of charge for maximum publicity.
This unique crowd-sourcing functionality will provide a place to easily report and have often overlooked FGM stories from local voices comprehensively covered to spur the winds of change like never before.

UNAIDS donation of five vehicles to help in the fight against FGM needs to be emulated by the government and other agencies. Brilliant ideas need to be supported to end this inhuman, degrading, illegal practice.

SOURCE: Daily Minor (Saturday Minor)

AUTHOR: Anthony Masake

URL: Click here

DATE: 17/12/2010

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