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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tanzania: How to Eradicate FGM

December 22, 2010

Although female circumcision is illegal, it is still being widely practised in some parts of the country under the local administration and police's nose. And this can only mean that having strict laws alone is not enough to end the practice, which has adverse health consequences for the victims, but still continues in this day and age.

For the Kurya people of Mara, for instance, this is a special season for circumcising boys and girls, as an initiation into adulthood. Although the drums are no longer beaten as loudly as was the case in the past, in some of the villages, elaborate rituals still go on.
For years, the government and civil society have waged a campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM). But the practice persists, partly because of deep-held so-called traditional beliefs about chastity and motherhood. It's a belief, which is nonsensical, considering the health experts' findings.

What the government, non-governmental organisations, communities, families and parents need to do is to step up public awareness campaigns on the dangers of FGM. As has become evident, laws alone will not end the problem. The people need to know about the deadly consequences they expose their young girls to by requiring them to undergo this outdated traditional ritual.