June 7, 2012 S
HARGEISA (Dalmar Media) – The practice of Female Genital Cutting has been termed as denial of rights.
This was said by the minister of Religion & endowments Hon Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi on Saturday June 2nd, 2012 during an FGC awareness raising event organized by the NGO Tostan in partnership with the National Organization of Women (NOW) where the minister stressed on the importance of separating religious and traditional tenets.
The religion & endowments minister said that the practice of FGC is causing much suffering among women on whom it is perpetrated. He urged parents to ensure that future generations of girls and women are protected from all forms of female genital cutting. He also thanked Tostan and NOW and encouraged them to continue to work together for community development and abandonment of practices that are harmful to women’s health.
The event was entertained with songs and a role play performed by the Tostan participants of Kilirka. This was followed by the screening of the Tostan film entitled ‘‘my child dry your tears’’ where Tostan communities of different age groups voice their opinions about FGC, especially how it has affected women health and contributed to the failure of many couples in Somaliland. In the same line, two Sheikhs members of Tostan social mobilization teams made a power point presentation with quotes from the Quran and the Hadiths bearing out that the practice of FGC is a mere tradition. They further explained their work in Tostan consisting in reaching out to indirect communities in order to increase the critical mass for FGC abandonment.
In his speech, the National coordinator of Tostan, Mr. Birima Fall informed that Tostan is working in 21 direct communities ofSomalilandto empower especially women to lead their own development and to mobilize communities belonging to their social networks including the diaspora to abandon harmful practices like FGC. Mr FALL expressed his thankfulness to the leaders of NOW, the Minister of religion, the vice Minister of health, and Amina, the representative of the First Lady for their remarks which pave the way for FGC abandonment in Somaliland. There was a diversified leadership attendance including ministers, members of parliament, political authorities, religious leaders and over 100 participating women representing NOW regional branches and Tostan communities.
The coordinator of the community management committee (CMC) of Goradher, Fatuma spoke in the name of Tostan communities and retraced the impressing headway made with Tostan in terms of empowerment, diffusion of useful information for positive social transformation. She informed the public about the public declaration of FGC abandonment that Tostan communities are intending to organize in the coming weeks as a result of Tostan human rights non formal education and outreach activities.
According to the vice health minister Hon Nimo Hussein Qawdan, women can only take their proper place in the decision making process once they are in good health and once the practice of FGC is completely stopped. Mrs. Nimo revealed that the administration of President Silanyo plans to support various anti-FGM/C awareness raising campaigns nationwide especially in rural areas where the practice is still rampant.
The vice health minister who together with the minister of Education Mrs. Zamzam Abdi Aden are the only women in the cabinet of ministers urged parents to protect their daughters from FGC and to give them equal education opportunities with their sons.
While thanking Tostan international for its support to community led development and promotion of abandonment of FGC, the chairwoman of NOW and deputy chairwoman expressed their readiness to accompany Tostan onto their challenging yet passionate journey of community empowerment, and abandonment of FGC.
Mrs Anisa Nuur Cigale explained that NOW is present in all the regions and districts ofSomalilandand is welcoming Tostan and any other organization contributing to community development.
Shiine Cilmi Kaahin
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