I SAID NO TO FGM
Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been denounced by the United Nations and the international community since 1952. However, tremendous energy and comprehensive planning addressed to this complex and sensitive issue is relatively recent. FGM was galvanized by 2007 inter-agency statement, which was signed by ten UN bodies, and a resolution from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was passed. In the last ten years since the inception of the UNFPA-UNICEF joint program for Female Genital Mutilation, much has changed. Efforts to end FGM have been embraced by government, regional and subregional bodies, media on all levels, as well as civil society. Approaches to transform the social norms on FGM have evolved to reflect the diffusion of new learnings.
More girls and women at risk of or suffering from the consequnces of FGM have access to quality services offering protection and care. Despite so many positive developments, FGM persists. Globally, it is estimated that 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. Due to high population growth in many of the countries where FGM is widely practised, the number of girls at risk continues to climb, even as prevalence rates decline. Today a girl is a third less likely to be cut than in 1997.
Growing numbers of people in many countries have publicly disavowed the practice and pledeged not to cut their daughters. The silence that once surrended to FGM has been broken. It is discussed in churches, mosques, on television and the radio, in schools and clinics, in community circles and celebrations, and in theaters and songs.
This photo essay for UNFPA-UNICEF showcases a handful of individuals who have been affected by FGM and have become powerful champions of change. These succesful stories demonstrate that things can change if we all work together. Numerous images and videos from this project have been exhibited at the UN Headquarters in New York and in Geneva’s UN Compound.
Sawadogoo, Burkina Faso
She used to be a cutter, performing more than 500 circumcisions in her life, and has attended several programs of awarness and helth safety on the danger of FGM organized by the GASCODE. During an official cerimony in 2016, she declared
she would abandon FGM in order to be part of the program to educate future generations.
Latty, Burkina Faso
At age 10 she became aware of FGM during a discussion in school, which prompted her to talk to her mother once at home and learned that the latter was cut at the same age. After that traumatic experience, she had promised herself that if she ever had any daughters not to cut them. Latty became increasingly more active at school to fight FGM. She is a songwriter and produced two songs about FGM. She has a Facebook page: Latty contre l’excision.
Mamouina, Burkina Faso
Maimouna is a local advocate and volounteer in Burkina Faso, providing medical and physicological advice to families and young girls
in remote villages and communities that are debating on the dangerous repercussions of FGM.
Bibata, Burkina Faso
She was circumcised at an early age and married at 15. Her first husband lamented that he could not have a sexual relation with her due to the FGM and return Bibata to her family. She was given in marriage a second time with the same outcome. Through Burkina Faso’s association of development she learned that she could be operated, but always refused since she was still suffering from the shock of the circumcision and the damage causing daily pain. With the aid of her family and her new husband as well as the support of the medical personnel, Bibata was operated with success and is slowly regaining her confidence and self esteem.
Kadjia was cut when she was a young girl and was then trained by Bureau of Women and Children Affairs on the causes and effects of FGM. She learned how to facilitate dialogue and organize various events at schools, provinding information and medical references.