FGM Advocacy: a time to reflect

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The recent stance of a lady in Lamin who is engaged in FGM is one of many cases that go unheard or known. The alienation of the advocates from the masses it seems is deepening in many ways. Of course much progress has been registered by the organisations involved in the struggle to stop this inhumane practice. Gamcotrap for example should be commended for taking up the initiative, and tackling the problem head on. 

 

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However the loopholes still need to be filled. The fact that FGM is an evil practice that is sexually impairing the girl child makes it the more relevant and imperative to curb. It’s as urgent as any other thing the world is bent on fighting. It’s an inalienable right of the woman to attain sexual satisfaction. Looking at these facts, how far have we come? What happened to the years of advocacy and the funds invested into it. Lamin is here within the urban areas and this thing is still happening there. If we were going to register any major challenges, I think it was going to be in some remote rural setting, where the grip of traditions is much stronger.

 

So we ask ourselves, what went wrong? To reflect on the struggle so far, we should celebrate our success stories, but when Amie Jallow, the leading female circumciser in Lamin claim with absolute certainty that FGM is here to stay, then this must ring bells for anyone who is sincerely concerned and willing to see the end of this menace. Among the excuses she offered for the relevance of the practice for her is how her religion advises it. Now this leads us to ask once more: what happened to the involvement of the religious leaders and did they help in advancing the cause or do they only speak out when conferences are called? 

 

It’s about time we started asking these questions to evaluate the ways and means used to advocate for the ending of FGM to further engage our religious leaders and prominent figures from all walks of life to help in spreading the word. The conferences, seminars and workshops will help a lot. However, we need to move beyond that and decentralise the message. Imams and pastors need to make it a point to deliver sermons on this issue.  Religion still has a strong influence in our land and the foremost duty of every religious leader is to be a good shepherd for his sheep and lead them to good pasture. So if FGM is still prevalent in our societies, then that means the shepherds have really not been working hard enough.

 

Reflection and evaluation of strategy should be urgently employed if we are to register more progress and finally kick out this harmful practice. We have come far. The movement should really make that move so the harm will not spread to places where the knife has been dropped. This is the duty of everyone, not only those paid for advocating for its end.  It’s the responsibility of all those who want to make the world a better place for our sisters and daughters. It is a sacred duty enjoined upon us by God to protect the vulnerable and weak. And this is just that, to end the mutilation once and for all.

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