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Media personnel rally behind the fight against FGM

Media personnel in Puntland on 25 August 2020 pledged to be champions in promoting the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and advocate for the passage of the FGM Zero Tolerance Law in the region.

 

The media champions emerged from a three-day media course organised by the Media Association of Puntland (MAP), a journalists’ union in the region. UNFPA Somalia provided technical and financial support.

banner announcing the training

 

During the course, participants were equipped with the knowledge to produce news stories countering harmful FGM practices and sensitising communities on the dangers of FGM

 

“We need concerted efforts now more than ever to engage communities and lawmakers to ensure that there is an end to FGM,” said Kamal Abdukadir, Programme Specialist for Gender/ Youth and HIV/AIDS in the UNFPA Garowe sub-office.

training participants

Somalia is one of the countries in the world with the highest prevalence of FGM. The recently-launched Somali Health and Demographic Survey (SHDS) indicates a prevalence of 99 percent among women and girls aged 15 to 49 years. Somalia continues to lack a critical legislative framework to end FGM due to weak political will and the lack of consensus among key religious groups for zero tolerance for FGM.

Recently, media reports have revealed that the school closures during the COVID-19 epidemic have exposed girls to an inordinately high risk of FGM. The lockdown has been seen as an opportune time for the procedure to be carried out in the home with ample time for healing. In addition, increased economic hardship as a result of COVID19 encourages FGM traditional practitioners to seek out clientele by knocking door-to-door to cut girls.

Across Somalia, many champions including religious leaders are working tirelessly to ensure the abandonment of FGM.