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Friday, February 24, 2012

Cutter's Denounce Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Surrender Knives

UNFPA Uganda
February 19, 2012

AMUDAT - Uganda: It turned out a moment filled with emotions that hot and sunny afternoon in a little village of Amudat, north-east of Uganda,when a group of women publically rose up to denounce the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and surrender their cutting knives to the authorities.

Dancing to the rhythm of the drums and the mellow tunes that set the mood, the group of once-committed women cutters, all colorfully dressed, snaked their way to the main-table and one by one, handed over their much-treasured tools – the FGM knives – to the Chief Guest of the day, Uganda’s State Minister of Gender and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Rukia Nakadama.

This spectacular event took place during the event to commemorate the 9th International Day of Zero Tolerance against FGM held at Pokot Senior Secondary school in Amudat district, on 6th February 2012. The women had travelled 73km from Karita Sub-County, Amudat district to the venue to take part in the event.

Amidst cheers from the crowd, the women said they made the decision to stop the practice after understanding that FGM was harmful and had negative impact on the lives of women and girls. They said that they were educated about the negative consequences of FGM by REACH (Reproductive, Educative and Community Health Programme). REACH is a community based organization supported by UNFPA.

“I decided I did not want to involve myself in this practice anymore. I don’t want to spill innocent young-girls’ blood anymore,” said one of the ex-cutters Margaret Chebet Kapkoikoi. She had been cutting girls for over four years. She also attributes her decision to retire from FGM cutting to the teachings in the church.

Hon. Nakadama praised the ex-cutters for their gesture and commitment to eradicate the harmful practice. “The handing over of these knives today is a positive gesture that society has now declared the abandonment of the practice,” said Nakadama.

This acceleration in the abandonment of FGM has been attributed to the UNFPA- UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM. This programme is grounded onto the ‘social norm approach’ that provides for community participation in the campaign to eradicate FGM. Community groups, including religious leaders, local leaders (LCs), FGM survivors, youth groups, ex-cutters and individual activists take action to publically denounce FGM; create awareness about the dangers of cutting women/girls; and advocate for change in attitudes towards a culture that is supportive of the social and economic empowerment of women and girls.

more pictures on

To read the full article on the UNFPA website, click here