Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined as the procedures involving partial or total removal of female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs. FGM is practiced widely in Somalia. It is primarily performed on girls between the ages of four and 11. This traditional practice is embedded deeply within Somali culture, and the belief is widely held that FGM is necessary to “cleanse” a girl child. In some communities, girls cannot be married without it. The health consequences of FGM are both immediate and life-long. Research has shown that FGM adversely affects the physical, mental and psycho-social well being of Somali girls and women.
GECPD aims to continue working towards the elimination of FGM in all its forms. We will continue creating awareness on the medical risks, mental and physiological effects on both women and men, risks and dangers of the traditional practices associated with FGM and elimination of the cultural stigma associated with those who are not circumcised. Participatory methodologies will be used in order to ensure community ownership of the desired social change.
Interventions aimed at immediate reduction in FGM target young adults whose girls are approaching the age when FGM is performed, as well as existing opinion leaders who can influence the decisions of individual families.
A long term shift in cultural norms requires awareness raising through education and community mobilization in order to bring up a generation that does not feel bound by the need to gain acceptance through conforming to the practice. At the same time, the approach will bring up a new generation of women and men, religious and political leaders who will work against the continuation of the practice.
Activities undertaken include workshops bringing together government representatives, religious leaders, elders, health personnel, women, youth, educationists, and displaced persons. Advocacy campaigns targeting policy makers to effect legislation and policy changes against FGM have also be undertaken.
- Short term- Increased behaviour change through awareness and increased capacity of individuals and communities to make choices that break the current “norm”
- Long term- change in the status of FGM as a desirable act within the Somali society at large
- Reduced stigma and discrimination against those who refuse to undergo any form of FGM
- Parents, community leaders and religious leaders mobilized to support the elimination of FGM in all its forms
- Reduced instances of FGM practice
- Increased awareness on the risks, and human rights violation of FGM amongst the youth
- Policy and legislation against FGM effected and implemented at all societal levels