GENEVA – More than 2,000 communities, most of them in Africa, decided to abandon female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in 2011, according to a report released on 6 February.
The report, prepared by the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme, demonstrates how social norms and cultural practices are changing.
“The latest results show us that laws to ban FGM/C can have an impact if they are part of broader prevention programmes that approach FGM/C as a social norm, and address it by fostering social dialogues, community empowerment and ownership which promote sustained collective change of beliefs and behaviours,” said Alanna Armitage, Director of the UNFPA Office in Geneva.
The report was presented on the 9th International Day against FGM/C at an event organized by the Inter-Africa Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC). The event was a start reminder that each year, over three million women and girls face the risk of genital mutilation and cutting.
“We need to continue our common efforts and help millions of girls and women to live healthier, fuller lives, and reach their potential,” Ms Armitage said.
The Joint Programme, set up in 2008, encourages communities to collectively abandon FGM/C. It uses a culturally sensitive approach, including dialogue and social networking, leading to abandonment within one generation. The programme is anchored in human rights and involves all groups within a community, including religious leaders and young girls themselves.
The Annual Report 2011 for the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/publications/pid/6435
Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin on the 9th International Day against FGM/C: http://www.unfpa.org/public/op/edit/home/news/pid/9981