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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Uganda: Churches Join the Fight Against FGM Practice

July 7, 2011
The Monitor
Steven Ariong

Several churches from Kapchorwa and Bukwo districts have joined hands with the Inter African Committee Uganda (IACU), a Non Government Organisation(NGO) based in Kapchorwa and Reproductive, Educative Community Health (REACH) another area NGO to fight Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Sebei and Pokot regions.

Pastor Francis Sawenge Kotil of deliverance church in Bukwo district said, the practice of female genital mutilation is a covenant and the blood that a woman bleeds after undergoing through the practice is a curse. "We claim it's our practice but biblicalically it's wrong, therefore the churches must come in full to fight against it," he said while delivering his message to the congregation in Bukwo last week.

Mr Geoffrey Sande, the Programme coordinator, Inter African Committee Uganda(IACU) believes that the fight against the FGM practice in Sebei will now succeed since the churches have also come openly to support the fight. "We have taken long trying to eradicate this practice in Sebei because we were not fully supported by churches but now since the church leaders have also come in to join us, it will help us now to fight the practice," he said.

Ms Beatrice Chelangat, the director of REACH programme in Kapchorwa, which also fights the practice said that the practice may take a while to die in Kapchorwa and Pokot because of the on going practive in neighbouring Kenya. She said most parents sneak with their children into Kenya to carry out the practice and return. "We are experiencing that challenge because in Uganda the law is becoming hot, now the rest of the parents cross to Kenya," she said. She appealed to the Kenyan government to help and reject the practice so that if the Sabiny from Kapchorwa or the Pokot of Amudat cross into Kenya to practice,they must be arrested.

Female Genital Mutilation is the partial or total removal of the female clitoris. Authorities say the number of girls mutilated in 2011 increased from 550 to 820 in 2008, lending credence to the fact that the practice is still alive despite its ban in 2010. Offenders of the practice face 10 years in prison, but if the girl dies during the act, those involved get life sentence.