Giving Compass’ Take:
• As part of a series highlighting critical findings in the field of women’s empowerment, Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan shares her personal experience with female genital mutilation (FGM) and how she seeks to end the practice by breaking the taboo and talking about the damage that it causes. More from the series: Combating gender-based violence in Nigeria and building impactful narratives about fistula survivors.
• How can funders support the work of local leaders like Adan as they try to change their communities?
• Learn about funding strategies for ending female genital cutting.
It’s hard to look away and hope that #FGM will not be a topic of discussion on literally every TV station and radio station on February 6—the day the United Nations observes International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The outcry on social media is immense, too. How I wish FGM would be an everyday agenda, an everyday talk.
What is very Kenyan is we literally run short races with issues, and, soon, we will run out of breath. Then, we will be falling on the roadside and forgetting we ever talked about it. The issue will be packed away until next time, when there is another Zero Tolerance Day, or another big FGM story. I wish we would run the full race. I wish we would do as our famous Kenyan runners do; run a marathon until we win the fight against FGM.
When I speak to most mothers about FGM, fear emerges as a motivating factor for the cut. In too many communities, if a girl isn’t cut, she is considered dirty. Mothers fear their daughters will be ostracized and considered unfit for marriage. No one wants to be cut off from their community. In my conversations, I ask mothers, “What about the law?” Some will ask, “Which law?” They don’t even know it exists.
In many communities, the Anti-FGM Act of 2011 is seen as foreign, as propagating the views and opinions of outsiders. Many wonder, “Why is there a law to stop our culture?” It is question many ask, but in whispers. Others quote the Quran and Sunnah as a basis for continuing the cut. Many say it is the practice of our forefathers, and we cannot stop it now.
But I believe we can.
We need to demystify the law and break it down for people to understand. As long as we cut them off, too, they will continue to mutilate.
Read the full article about ending female genital mutilation by Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan at GlobalGiving.
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