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The last kicks of the dying FGM in Uganda

By Admin

Added 6th February 2019 11:40 AM

When the government, with partners like the UN system in Uganda, UKAID and local organisations among others launched a campaign against the harmful FGM, it must have been clear that it was going to be a long and tabulent campaign.

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When the government, with partners like the UN system in Uganda, UKAID and local organisations among others launched a campaign against the harmful FGM, it must have been clear that it was going to be a long and tabulent campaign.

OPINION

By Umar Weswala

As we commemorate the 7th anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), I would like to urge Ugandans and the international community, not to be alarmed by the recent reports of “a failing anti-FGM campaign” or ‘an upsurge’ in the practice.

When the government, with partners like the UN system in Uganda, UKAID and local organisations among others launched a campaign against the harmful FGM, it must have been clear that it was going to be a long and tabulent campaign.

As the campaign became stronger and widespread, the FGM promoters were surely going to become not just weaker but angrier, because to many of them, FGM is not just a cultural practice but a source of livelihood. That is why I believe that most of those resisting the anti-FGM campaign are not fighting for a fading cultural practice, but a dying business.

The recent FGM incidents in Sebei sub-region as reported by the media are not the first of their kind.

FGM has always been forced on girls and women. Those who were cut were largely giving in to threats, fear, stigma and pressure. With enough information about the dangers of the practice, no parent would allow his or her daughter to under go it; no girl would willingly give in to such a painful and harmful act.

That is why the on going anti-FGM campaign now has the support of the former cutters and mentors; former victims of FGM and elders who are former die-hard supporters of FGM.

Armed with the truth about FGM, they have dropped the blades and publicly denounced the practice.

Having all these people on-board is a huge success of the anti-FGM movement. The sustained drop in reported FGM cases is a success of the anti FGM movement, the introduction of the Anti FGM Law 2010 is a success of the anti FGM campaign.

The fact that the practice has gone under-ground following the enforcement of the anti-FGM law is another success of the anti-FGM campaign.

I therefore do not subscribe to the claim that the anti-FGM campaign is failing. It is succeeding in the face of a number of challenges.

I have attended all the anti FGM marathons in Sebei Sub-region where I witnessed and documented women and men over 60 years old and boys and girls below 10 years old  running a distance of 2-10 Kilometres on bare foot.

Just as I use the power of the media to fight FGM, they use their feet to demonstrate their support for the anti-FGM campaign. They want FGM to go away.

During these marathons, everyone runs, including Uganda’s international athletes, but I have singled out the children and the elderly to highlight the extent to which the anti-FGM campaign has gone when it comes to weakening the practice.

The recent unfortunate and isolated incidents by some ‘radical’ individuals in Sebei should not be used to downgrade the success of the anti-FGM movement. I consider such acts as the last kicks of a dying harmful practice.

We are not there yet, but with sustained activities involving all stakeholders, there will be zero tolerance to FGM sooner than later.

The writer is the founder of www.thecommunityagenda.com

 

 

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