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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Uganda Seeks to Sensitize Public on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Bill

November 2, 2010
NGO News Africa
Hanah Kim

In April of this year, the passing of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill made female genital mutilation (FGM) in Uganda a criminal offense. However, many citizens remain unaware of the Bill and continue the practice of FGM.

According to reports, 34 girls have been circumcised in Bugiri this year, said Dalton Chemasuet, a coordinator of adult reproductive health.

There are several levels of punishment codified in the Bill for offenders of the prohibition. Those convicted of performing FGM could be imprisoned for a maximum of ten years and in the case that a patient dies during an operation, the operator would face life imprisonment.

Both governmental and non-governmental organizations are working to sensitize the community and eliminate the tradition of FGM through awareness rather than punishment in areas where the influence of the Bill has not yet reached.

There are efforts by the Ugandan government to sensitize the community about the Bill. “The government will construct a Sh1.5 billion school in Iwemba sub-county next year to promote the education of the Sabiny girls,” said Chemasuet.

NGOs such as FEMRITE, an indigenous Non-Governmental Organization that encourages women to partake in Africa’s rich literary tradition, are also doing their part.

Beyond the Dance is one of several publications dedicated to raising public awareness through the personalization of women’s issues. This compilation of memoirs and poems resounds with the voices of women who have incurred the trauma of female genital mutilation. Through personal testimonies, Beyond the Dance simultaneously promotes awareness and calls for the elimination of FGM. For more information, please got to