As schools were closed for the holidays last December, shocking details of rampant female genital mutilation (FGM) of girls emerged in Kuria.
This led to an uproar and calls for action on social media, with gender activists raising a red flag over the mass lynching of girls.
The government swung into action and arrested 57 parents, who were later charged in court for promoting FGM. Details later emerged that more than 500 girls were bitten in that area, which is one of the areas with the highest FGM prevalence in the country.
Hundreds of others were lucky when they were rescued by anti-FGM warriors and taken to safe homes. In an interview with Anti-FGM Board CEO Bernadette Lolozu nation.AfricaAt the time, Kuria blamed the cross-border FGM for the rise in the west and east.
There have been widespread cases of girls being bitten in 22 hotspot counties in the country, especially when schools are closed.
More than 50 million girls in Africa are at risk of undergoing FGM if concrete action is not taken. It is on the elimination of FGM according to a survey by the Salima Initiative of the African Union that seeks to end the practice.
The survey report also suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic could kill an additional two million girls across the continent by 2030. This further reveals mixed trends in the prevalence of FGM in Africa, with different generational changes occurring within and between countries and regions.
Countries with very low prevalence include Niger, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana and Uganda, while countries with a slight decline in prevalence are listed as Cte d’Ivoire, Mauritania and Sudan. In these later countries, there was limited success in persuading community members to collectively abandon the practice.
Countries with significant declines in prevalence include Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Central African Republic and Egypt. The trend indicates a possible generational shift, where younger women are less likely to undergo FGM than older women.
However, there was no significant change in prevalence in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Djibouti, Somalia and Chad, indicating limited or lack of success by interventions.
The Salima Initiative is catalysing regional and national efforts to end the harmful practice. Efforts focused on ending gender-based violence, addressing gender inequalities and empowering women and girls have been an immediate priority for the African Union Commission.
Despite an increase in anti-FGM campaigns across the continent, it is still practiced in 27 countries, with no significant change in prevalence in five countries. Many countries now have laws banning FGM and are signatories to several human rights conventions and treaties.
“FGM is now being performed by trained health professionals, as families seek to manage health risks, allowing social norms to reduce the practice of tolerance. Families also believe that healthcare providers However, this is often not the case because immediate and long-term health problems can persist and even lead to death if carried out by healthcare professionals.” written in the report.
effects of covid-19
The report also suggests that the COVID-19 outbreak significantly slowed efforts to eliminate FGM. The main reasons were closure of schools, restrictions on movement, lockdown and lack of integration of services by governments within the national COVID-19 responses.
Restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus also impeded access to safe places and services for girls at risk, as well as FGM survivors.
The report indicates that limited access to communities for organizations performing FGM programming may result from low funding, as well as increased rates in practice, and a lack of accurate data.
To help end this threat, the report recommends a comprehensive, collaborative, multi-sectoral approach and partnerships, providing evidence that no standalone measures are effective.
The report also calls for the inclusion of human rights and gender equality indicators in national responses and harmonization of national laws with human rights standards for the promotion of related health policies, programs and services.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), around 140 million girls in Africa have had their hair cut, while 130 million girls are married off in infancy, most of them after being cut.
The United Nations agency states that 80 percent of girls come from 28 African countries.