ActionAid calls for new strategy to fight FGM

ActionAid Ghana, a civil society organisation, has called for the intensification of education and the development of new advocacy strategies to fight the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The call comes as the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM on Saturday, on the theme “Achieving the new Global Goals through the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation by 2030,’.
A statement signed by Mr Benjamin Tawiah, the Communications and Public Relations Manager, ActionAid Ghana, which was copied to the Ghana News Agency, said this year’s FGM observation draws inspiration from the Sustainable Development Goals, to galvanise some campaign energy to increase and sustain the global fight against the practice.
It said traditional leaders, FGM survivors and victims, and community role models have become effective tools for successful advocacy; declaring that ‘let’s all join the fight’.
It said as the world gears up to mark the Zero Tolerance Day for FGM, troubling statistics from UNICEF reveal that we have been underreporting the huge numbers of victims worldwide who are cut daily under the barbaric ritual practice of FGM.
The UNICEF report shows that the 2014 statistics did not capture some 70 million girls and women.
It is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women today have undergone some form of FGM, with half of them living in three countries: Egypt, Indonesia and Ethiopia.
According to the report, out of top 10 countries that recorded the highest percentage of women and girls between 15- 49 who have undergone FGM, Somalia has the highest number at 98 per cent, followed by Guinea at 97 per cent, and Burkina Faso and Gambia coming 9th and 10th with 76 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.
The statement said in Ghana, FGM is mostly practiced in the Upper East region, parts of Upper West, and among the Kotokoli people of the Volta Region.
‘However, migration within Ghana makes FGM a national crisis. ActionAid Ghana and local partner, Belim Wusa Development Agency (BEWDA) have been advocating and campaigning against the practice in affected communities in the Upper East region,’ it said.
‘In 2012, the two organisations conducted research to ascertain the prevalence level of FGM in some communities and made some worrying findings,’ it added.
It said the study revealed that the practice was more prevalent in communities closer to the borders of Burkina Faso and Togo, and parents usually crossed borders to cut their girls for fear of prosecution.
The statement noted that the FGM Act 494 had been passed in Ghana since 1994, making the practice illegal, however, the practice still persists in some communities.
It said ActionAid and BEWDA have undertaken several advocacy and public education programmes in some of the affected communities. Some of the activities include public awareness creation through community durbars/forums; drama and other cultural displays have been used to portray the negative implications of the practice.
Others are radio discussions using health personnel and security agencies to highlight the dangers and legal consequences of the practice; and the formation and training of Community Based Anti-Violence Teams (COMBAT) in the communities, particularly those along the borders of Burkina Faso and Togo, to monitor and report perpetrators.
The rest include engagement sessions between traditional leaders, local government authorities and security agencies to support the elimination of FGM; and supporting the Paramount Queen mother and 26 Divisional Queen mothers of the Bawku Traditional Area with funds to conduct quarterly outreach programmes to increase awareness of the dangers of FGM in the communities.
It said while the practice still persists, these interventions have reduced the incidence of FGM in some communities; education and advocacy have been intensified to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable girls and women in affected communities.

It said to fight the cross-border cutting, ActionAid and BEWDA are working with a consortium of NGOs in Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana, to coordinate organizational efforts to eliminate FGM.
‘However, there are challenges in tracking ‘cross-border perpetrators’ and it may also be difficult to invoke the FGM Act to prosecute Ghanaian perpetrators who are caught in Burkina Faso and Togo,’ The statement said.

ghana news agency

Posted by on Feb 14 2016. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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