Female Genital Mutilation:
The need to Deal with FGM
In rural areas of Arusha Tanzania, many girls are forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation by their parents for many reason. Others are forced by their family in the name of ‘tradition’, an act without which she would be shunned in her village. And since cutting ceremonies require new clothes, food and the services of a local circumcise, the argument is made that the practice supports the local economy.
The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania criminalized female genital mutilation (FGM) in 1998. Since then, the prevalence of FGM has decreased from 18 per cent to 10 per cent. Progress towards ending FGM in Tanzania is evident: Increasing numbers of girls are attending alternative rites of passage and more cases are being reported and successfully handled by the police as a result of awareness-raising and systematic training of law enforcement officers on FGM response and gender-based violence more broadly.
The continued practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Tanzania, however, has been highlighted as an area of concern by human rights treaties to which Tanzania is a signatory. The harmful practice is still common in some communities and of concern is that it is increasingly practiced on girls under the age of one who cannot do anything or defend themselves.
Consequences of FGM
Female Genital Mutilation compromises the natural functions of the female body and has a detrimental impact on the health of women and girls, including their psychological, sexual and reproductive health.
The challenges of tackling FGM
An African proverb says that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ but it will take a whole country to end the practice of FGM, which is so deeply entrenched in cultural traditions and social norms. The Q&A session that followed the screening of the film highlighted the challenges to tackling FGM and the coordinated multi-sectoral efforts across programme areas to address supply and demand issues that will be needed to eliminate the practice. Engaging men and boys in FGM programming was also highlighted as a critical element to end FGM in Tanzania.
What is the link between FGM and education?
Regarding Female Genital Mutilation and education, VHSO believes that apart from all the fight in all angels, advocacy should be focused on community education. These communities are composed of parents, students, teachers, school administrators and traditional/religious leaders and each school has one. We want to be an instrumental in increasing girls’ education and can help girls and women make informed choices on decisions that will impact their health, education and lives,” who are also future parents and village leaders.defend themselves.
The connection between Female Genital Mutilation and education is twofold: education and awareness about the practice and its risks and general educational attainment. Teaching young girls and women about the dangers of FGM is a powerful tool in changing public opinion and reversing the trend. However, the importance of overall education may seem less clear. We believe that while more research needs to be done, “emerging evidence illustrates that basic education can be an effective instrument for abandoning the practice of FGM”
We believe that that women are less likely to have their daughters cut as their level of education rises. In addition, a higher level of education also makes fathers less likely to support FGM. Education exposes students, male and female, to a variety of competing ideas and concepts and a broader worldview. This allows them to make more informed decisions regarding their own reproductive health and agency.
How you can Help?
Village Health Support Organization (VHSO) is an NGO registered and work within Tanzania, which have a general Health Support in Rural areas.
VHSO needs are ongoing and great.
Whether you represent an organisation interested in supporting VHSO or an Individual : if you would like to join the VHSO efforts, or discuss other means of getting involved, please CONTACT US. VHSO promise that 100% of all donations received will be spent on the fight against FGM. If you would like to support in other ways, for example through holding an event, climbing Kilimanjaro, running a marathon etc. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp: +255767747410