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Female Genital Mutilation still a nightmare

By Geoffrey Mutegeki

Added 5th April 2017 09:37 PM

The practice of FGM is deeply rooted in the Sabiny culture and some ethnic groups in the Karamoja region

Female Genital Mutilation still a nightmare

Bukwo District Woman MP Evelyn Chemutai (R) interacts with ex-FGM surgeons; Cherop Metrine, Cherukut Jane, Topista Kerery, Cherop Beatrice and Chemos Magdalene after the workshop at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala. Photo by Maria Wamala

The practice of FGM is deeply rooted in the Sabiny culture and some ethnic groups in the Karamoja region

Magdalene Chemos, 54, is a reformed traditional circumciser or 'cutter', who recently denounced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a practice she has done for over 20 years.

A resident of Bukwo district, she used to mutilate girls for a fee of sh50,000 each. To her and several other traditional circumcisers, the practice is a source of income and prestige.

When asked how many girls she has mutilated, Chemos couldn't reveal the number but said the number is big.

"I started this practice in 1976. I have seen so many girls and I have since then accumulated wealth and prestige out of it. People would give me chicken, goats and I commanded a lot of respect," Chemos says.

Chemos made this revelation at a Global Consultation on the UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on FGM and early child marriage press conference at Golf Course Hotel today.

The UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on FGM, Accelerating Change, is part of the global effort to eliminate FGM and aims to play a strategic and catalytic role in the abandonment of the harmful practice.

The practice of FGM is deeply rooted in the Sabiny culture and some ethnic groups in the Karamoja region as an initiation rite for girls from girlhood to womanhood.

This partly explains the high numbers of early marriages which stand at about 40% in areas like Karamoja.

Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament, who is currently in Bagladesh, attending the Inter Parliamentary Union summit challenged the UNICEF and UNFPA, to earnestly continue supporting the campaign against these harmful practices.

"The matters you are discussing are very close to my heart and I have been campaigning vigorously and for a long time to end these two practices," Kadaga said in video message.

She decried the continued practice of the two harmful practices which prevent development and growth of the children.

"I'm convinced that FGM is being carried out under the guise of customs, culture and tradition but the public nature of the act of circumcision takes away the dignity of the person and the mutilation and infibulation prevents normal growth and development of a child," Kadaga said.

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