Eliminating FGM: Sebei elders draft alternative ‘rite of passage’

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Kampala, Uganda 

Elders in the Sebei region in eastern Uganda have drafted an alternative rite of passage for girls to adulthood, which they say once adapted, will lead to the total elimination of the illegal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Uganda.

Third Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama (middle) and Gender and Culture State minister Peace Mutuuzo (2nd-R) attending the meeting on Thursday. Second Exreme right is UNFPA Uganda’s  Country Representative  Dr. Mary Atieno. Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Countries in East and Southern Africa have agreed to make a regional law that will hold perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation-FGM accountable across borders.

Third Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama (middle) and Gender and Culture state Minister Peace Mutuuzo (2nd-R) attending the meeting on Thursday. Second Exreme right is UNFPA Uganda’s  Country Representative  Dr. Mary Atieno. Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

This decision was taken on Thursday during the third inter-ministerial cross-border meeting for addressing female genital mutilation at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Third Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama (R) and Culture State Minister Peace Mutuuzo (2nd-R) attending the meeting on Thursday.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

FGM is the removing the external genitalia of girls and young women for non-medical reasons. In Uganda, FGM is practiced in the six districts of Bukwo, Kapchorwa, Moroto, Nakapiripiti, and Amudat. In neighboring Kenya, it is practiced by the Pukoth, Somalis, Borans, Gabras, and Maasai communities while in Tanzania, it is practiced among the Nyatura, Gogo, Maasai, Pare, Kuria, Hadza, Barabaig, and Iraq.

Third Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama (2L with Hanifa Muhammed Ibrahim, Somalia’s Women and Human Rights Development Minister)Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

While countries have laws to reprimand for instance the surgeons or parents who force their children to undergo FGM, these laws only apply within the borders of a specific country and may not necessarily apply in neighboring countries.

Gender and culture state minister Peace Mutuuzo.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Third Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama Middle and Culture State Minister Peace Mutuuzo (R) attending the meeting on Thursday.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Third Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama (L  )with Hanifa Muhammed Ibrahim, Somalia’s women and human rights development minister)Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Ms.Commissioner,Gender and Women Affairs Angela Nakafeero,Ministry Of Gender,Labour and Social Development.Photo (middle) by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Peace Mutuuzo, the State Minister of Gender and Cultural Affairs says such a law will go a long way in stopping the practice of parents sneaking into neighboring countries to carry out FGM.

 

She says one of the areas that the law will address is the new practice of persons carrying out medical FGM.

In addition to this, delegates also suggested the introduction of alternative rites of passage such as; blessing pronouncements carried out by the father, dances, or communal meals.

Jessica Kusuro Yego, a psychology specialist who has carried research on FGM, and also a member of the Sabiny Cultural Institution says alternative rites of passage such as pronouncements are viable options to replace FGM.

Frank Mugabi, the Ministry Of  Gender.Labour and Social Development Spokesperson and  the Master Of Ceremonies of the day.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Jessica Kusuro Yego, a psychology specialist who has carried research on FGM, and also a member of the Sabiny Cultural Institution says alternative rites of passage such as pronouncements are viable options to replace FGM.

“Blessing pronouncement where pronunciations are made by a father where he anoints the girl’s head and blesses her at her graduation ceremony into womanhood are alternatives that can replace FGM,” she said.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

This youth group from Kapchorwa put up a lively cultural performance for the delegates.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

“Blessing pronouncement where pronunciations are made by a father where he anoints the girl’s head and blesses her at her graduation ceremony into womanhood are alternatives that can replace FGM,” she said.

This youth group from Kapchorwa put up a lively cultural performance for the delegates.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

This youth group from Kapchorwa put up a lively cultural performance for the delegates.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.
This youth group from Kapchorwa put up a lively cultural performance for the delegates.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

This youth group from Kapchorwa put up a lively cultural performance for the delegates.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Bernadette Loloju, the Chief Executive Officer of the Anti- FGM board in Kenya says communities can use alternatives such as dancing or sharing meals instead of cutting.

Globally, an estimated 200 million cases of FGM are reported. UNFPA estimates show that 48.5 of these cases occur in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The Independent.

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