CAMPAIGNERS, DFID, End FGM, FGM, Zero Tolerance Day to FGM

A Day Like no Other – International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

A Day like No Other – By Alimatu Dimonekene (Anti FGM Campaigner and Community Activist ProjectACEi)

Blog photoFor most women and girls, their wedding night or giving birth to a baby should be the most happiest and joyous occasion of their lives. But, for many women and girls around the world who have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM) those days are marred in anguish, fear and sometimes death. In most instances, a girl born into a FGM affected community has a sanction. She will inevitable undergo three painful stages of her life; circumcision, night of her wedding and giving birth. FGM often occurs on or around the puberty stage leaving many girls scarred for life. For some women, not all, sexual intercourse comes with many complications and therefore not a pleasurable experience. Child birth equally devastating experience combined with mental anguish. In almost all instances, women and girls are left with lasting traumatic experiences. Moreover, the way FGM is perform, the age at which the practice takes place; and the reasons to perform the practice differs widely. Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as female circumcision, cutting or sunna) refers to all procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (2014 NHS). FGM has been illegal across the UK since 1985 and carries a maximum 14 year prison sentence.

There are four types of FGM and all equally painful with lifelong health consequences for the victims.

Why does tackling FGM matter?

Keith Vaz Calling for an immediate action planWell, it is estimated that over 140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone the practice of female genital mutilation. In England and Wales it is estimated over 137,000 women and girls affected by FGM, born in countries where FGM is practiced, were permanently resident in England and Wales in 2011.  A highly critical Home Affairs Committee inquiry chaired by Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP called for an immediate action plan to tackle the growing practice of female genital mutilation. Mr Vaz described the failure to protect girls as a ‘national scandal’. Read more

New Measures announced by David Cameron

Prime Minister speaking with Alimatu Dimonekene Anti FGM Campaigner and Survivor at the Girl Summit Juy 2014.Prime Minister David Cameron speaking at the global Girl Summit in London, said Britain had no “special magic” to stop the practices – so global action was needed. Read More

The Government also announced a range of measures to tackle FGM in the UK (except Scotland) which includes:

◾Training for teachers, doctors and social workers to identify and help girls at risk

◾Lifelong anonymity for victims.
◾New guidance for police on handling FGM cases.
◾A £1.4 million prevention programme, in partnership with NHS England, to care for survivors and safeguard those at risk.
◾A new specialist FGM service which will include social services, to “proactively identify and respond to FGM”.

Very strong commitments to Ending FGM

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-president of the European Commission in November 2013 said

“Zero tolerance for female genital mutilation is a policy to which the European Union is committed throughout its external action. We are engaged with partner countries around the world in working towards the eradication of this act that violates the rights of women and girls and harms them in many ways. The adoption of this strategy [to fight FGM in the European Union and beyond] today is a demonstration of our joint commitment. The EU’s tools and resources, political and economic, will be used to promote initiatives and support laws to help create a world where no girl will have to face this cruel and intolerable practice.”

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe said in July 2014,

“All need to act now to improve the lives of the many women and girls who are subjected to violence, simply because of their gender.”

In October 2014, a new UK’s global campaign to support work to end FGM the Girl Generation was launched last October in Nairobi Kenya, with a side-event in the Southbank Centre, London. Efua Dokenoo, Program Director, The Girl Generation who sadly passed away after a brief illness just before the launch said;

Efua Dorkenoo OBE and Dr Comfort Momoh great campaigner during a scoping mission to Nigeria “Having been part of the anti-FGM movement for over thirty years, it is my pleasure to be part of today’s launch of The Girl Generation: Together To End FGM’. This global initiative will use innovative marketing and communications approaches to accelerate an end to this human rights violation – one of the gravest of our time. The good news is that FGM abandonment is increasing on the African continent, but we are at a critical point, where new financial injections are urgently needed. It is vital that we work together to ensure that countries are supported in their efforts to end this extreme form of violence against women and girls in this generation, once and for all”.

Together we can end FGM

New measures aimed at bringing an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK announced yesterday in time for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. Read More

Berhane Ras-Work, founding president of the IAC and one of 12 experts on FGM/C who were interviewed for this report said in a report for the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) that,

“The future is bright. Success has been premised on strengthening conviction, not on using force.”

This is dedicated to the great men and women championing change to ending FGM in this generation.

Want to join the campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation join ProjectACEi 20th March 2015 at the Standing Up to FGM at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield. Visit our website

#StandingUpToFGM #EndFGM @ProjectACEi

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CAMPAIGNERS, DFID, FGM, GIRL SUMMIT, Uncategorized

The Girl Summit- A Pivotal Moment

The Girl Summit- A Pivotal Moment

On July 22, activists, community leaders, civil society organizations (CSOs), governments, and international organizations all converge on London for Girl Summit 2014. To discuss how to end two of the most pressing human rights violations of our time: child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM) and female genital mutilation (FGM).

After months of planning, endless discussions, workshops and meetings with DFID Senior Managers like Jane Miller and Jane Hobson. The day finally came for the world to say no to FGM and child marriage.

Opening the Girl Summit at the Walworth Academy with my speech, I knew then as a FGM survivor and campaigner, we have reached a pivotal moment. A milestone that will transform the lives of girls around the world expose to the dangers of female genital mutilation and child early force marriage.

Hearing my fellow speaker, Farwa, a member of the #YouthforChange Youth Panel and Hannah speak at Girl Summit I knew that the voices of the young people at the Summit would bring lasting change to the lives of millions of girls at risk of FGM and CEFM. Thanks to the excellent work by DFID (Lyndsay and colleagues) who worked for months to get the young people from around the work to look to ways to get firm commitments from the delegates. #GirlEffect

Highlights of the Girl Summit

Powerful speeches delivered. Great music and dancing. There were round tables and spotlight sessions. For me the highlight of the Summit was hearing the powerful voices of the brave young people, like Hannah, June, Alfred and Alice and many more who were the catalyst for change.

Demanding an end to the abhorrent practices of FGM and CEFM.

The Girl Summit was the start of something big for FGM victims and survivors as well as those seasoned campaigners around the world who have fought tirelessly to end the practise of female genital mutilation. Campaigners like Efua Dorkenoo OBE of Equality Now, Dr Comfort Momoh OBE, Jane Ellison M.P., Lynn Featherstone, Marina Yannikaides and First Lady of Bukina Faso, Madam Chantal Campoare whose pioneering work on FGM has contributed to the international recognition of FGM as a public health and a human rights issues.

Present trends

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

According to a recent UNICEF publication at least 125 million girls and women have experienced FGM/C in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated. Given present trends, as many as 30 million girls under the age of 15 may still be at risk. However, the data shows that FGM/C is becoming less prevalent overall and the younger generation is less vulnerable to the practice. According to UNICEF estimates, on average, 36 per cent of girls aged 15-19 have been cut compared to an estimated 53 per cent of women aged 45-49 (UNICEF ChildInfo).

Prime Minister David Cameron announced that here in the United Kingdom, 130,000 people affected by FGM. 60,000 girls under the age of 15 potentially at risk.

Pledges and Commitments

At the Girl Summit, UK government secured substantial commitments from heads of state, foundations, and international organizations from around the world. Offer pledging much-needed financial and technical resources to the effort, as well as pledges from governments and civil society to work together in more strategic ways, including by working with girls themselves to ensure that all girls everywhere can live healthy and empowered lives. You can follow the Summit commitments online at: www.girlsummit2014.org.

I wholeheartedly welcome the landmark pledges made by Liberia’s Gender Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell and Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Ghana at Girl Summit 2014. Both announcing that their respective countries will ban female genital mutilation (FGM). This represents the first time that Liberia had agreed to include the elimination of FGM on its agenda. Its adoption represents the culmination of years of work.

While there is almost universal condemnation of FGM practices in national and global discussions, not enough was said on what will be done to actually stop countries where FGM is still rive and girls are still dying from the practice. The Girl Summit was a chance to change the status quo and turn rhetoric into action. We already know what works to prevent and mitigate the harmful effects of these practices; what we need now is the political will and financial commitment to scale up effective programs.

Community Engagement

What was also missing was how the powerful voices of the survivors be utilized to change mind-sets. The sweep of change happening around FGM in the UK has been strongly attributed to the efforts of Survivors.

In order to tackle FGM, the voices of the survivors, grassroots campaigners who live within the affected communities is vital. They are familiar with the complex issues associated with the practice in their communities. If we are to end FGM in this generation, there must be a collective action plan on FGM, which will bring together key components such as survivors, campaigners, diaspora communities, grassroots organizations and individuals who will galvanize and lead changes within their communities.

 

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