In the press
Using knowledge against gender discrimination
“Midwife Bahga, I will never forget how I have suffered and still do,” said 13-year old Mehad, “I underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) at your hands.” Addressing an awareness-raising session at a girls’ school, Midwife Bahga confessed, “I did not do this out of ill will, but out of ignorance.” FGM is a fundamental violation of human rights that causes severe pain, trauma, sexual dysfunction, birth and other health complications. Around 89% of women in the Sudan are affected by FGM.
Working together with UNFPA, Ahfad University for Women and national counterparts, UNV volunteers mobilized 30 community volunteers in Abu Seid, south of Khartoum, one third of these are men. They focused on involving men in peer education, key players like Midwife Bahga in sexual education and schools in raising the awareness of schoolchildren.
The FGM–Free Village Model in Egypt addresses communities as a whole with the aim of creating an environment conducive to dialogue and thus empowering families to abandon FGM. The initiative began in 2003 in 60 villages and is now expanding to 120 villages. FGM affects 96% of Egyptian women.
Working together with UNDP and the National Council on Childhood and Motherhood, UNV volunteers involved the media in this holistic approach.
In one village, Lamon Girgis said, “I’ve always considered this a subject concerning my wife and daughter. But when we sat down as a family for the first time to discuss it, we became convinced that FGM is prohibited by religion, so we decided to stop.” Rejection of FGM is increasing: in Minya the FGM rate dropped from 90% to 30% in two years.
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