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Female Genital Mutilation: the pressure of society

February 5th, 2021

According to the WHO, approximately 3 million girls are genitally mutilated every year. The harmful practice is most common in African countries and to a lesser extent in the Middle East and Asia. Pressure of the community and the impossibility to avoid it add to this huge number of mutilations. This is also the case in Tanzania.

Kuria girls in the Masanga rescue centre

Ousted by the community

Girls who refuse to be mutilated, face hard consequences in their families and communities. Their brave decision means they will be insulted, abused, socially excluded, thrown out of the house and in extreme circumstances even renounced. 

Debi (14): "I am regularly called out in public for not having been cut. When I was 9 years old, my father sent me to the cutting ceremony of my sisters. What I remember mostly is the profuse bleeding. This made me vow never to be mutilated.” 

Eunice (15): “Because I refused to be cut, I am as good as dead in the eyes of my father. Daughters of him are mutilated, or do not exist.”

Stefani (17): “My father’s clan is insisting that I should be mutilated and then married off.”

Debora (16): “My brother never wanted me to go to school. He wanted me to stay at home so that he could marry me off.”

Rose (17): “When I refused to be mutilated, my mother and grandmother locked me in a room and  began beating me up.”

Nice (15): “My brother renounced me when I refused to be mutilated. He told me to leave our home and forget I have a family. He also said that all my belongings would be burned.”

(the names have been changed )

Zero tolerance for FGM

February 6 is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Many girls in sub-Sahara Africa grow up knowing that FGM is their foreland. FGM has lifelong repercussions for the women and girls who underwent it. It is not only a breach of the law, but a violence of their rights. That is why Terre des Hommes Netherlands stands up for these girls, specifically for girls in the Kuria community in Northern Tanzania.

Together with our partner Association for the Termination of Female Genital Mutilation (ATFGM), in the past three years Terre des Hommes Netherlands has achieved:

  • 1516 Kuria girls have been rescued and protected from FGM. They were given temporary shelter in the Masanga rescue centre so that they can avoid the ceremony and undergo an alternative rite of passage to adulthood.
  • 724 children were able to continue their education with our support.
  • 144 children's rights clubs were set up and supported.
  • 165 children were trained and supported as peer educators, to sensitise their fellow children on the effects of FGM.
  • 48 traditional leaders (Kuria elders) and 66 traditional mutilators (ngaribas) renounced FGM.
Read more about FGM
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