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Stand against female genital mutilation

Mutilating the genitals of young girls against their will and marrying them off is customary in northern Tanzania. The Kuria people have believed that partial or full genital cutting turns young girls into adults. Left uncut, girls have been seen as unable to marry or have children. We take a stand to protect these girls. We are fighting for a safe adaptation of this cruel, dangerous ritual. We stand together with the community and the girls themselves. Join our fight.

A centuries-old practice with deep, painful wounds

For the Kuria people in Tanzania, ritual genital cutting and marriage of young girls is an old tradition. They have seen it as a rite of passage to adulthood. Girls and women have little say. Village leaders perform the service. It is a cultural norm.

Against their wills, girls between ages seven and 17 are taken to a village square. Often in December, they must undress in front of everyone. Their genitals are cut with razor blades. Afterwards, they must pick themselves up and walk home. Then they must get married.

Genital mutilation’s effects are enormous. Some girls die from their wounds. Many become depressed and suffer anxiety. Rarely do they go to school after marriage. Sexual intercourse and childbirth become very painful. We take a stand against this cruel custom. We provide girls a safe place. 

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Goals

We fight ritual female genital mutilation and child marriage with protection and knowledge. In Tanzania, we want better protection for young girls, in particular. We want forced mutilation rituals to stop. 

Alternatives

Awareness-raising

Promote self-confidence

Control

Advocate for clear laws

Approach

Hand in hand with the girls and their community, we're fighting a cruel tradition.

Terre des Hommes is fighting for better protection of girls in the Mara region of northern Tanzania and for adaptation of their genital cutting ritual. This is a sensitive issue. Superstition surrounds the practice. Transforming a cultural tradition is hard. 

Six out of ten girls in the region are genitally mutilated. We educate family, village leaders and the general population about children’s rights. We emphasize the medical and psychological effects of mutilation and child marriage. Together, we are developing an alternative ritual that honours their culture but no longer mutilates girls.  

This project provides a safe place for girls at risk of genital mutilation. It gives them opportunities to get an education, do sports and play games. With the girls and their families, teachers and village leaders, we are working on a replacement ritual. This version of the ritual is meant to befit Kuria culture without inflicting pain.

Our safe houses help girls who have already been mutilated and married off. They get therapy to process their experiences. They can also learn a professional trade to become more independent.

We educate police and governments about children's rights. We train them in how to better protect girls. We offer families living in poverty opportunities to earn more money. This relieves them from relying on dowries and marrying off daughters.

Our approach is working

A community with more attention to the rights of children – girls first and foremost
We have worked hard for more protection for the girls of the Kuria people. It is nice to see that our approach is paying off in Tanzania. The results are promising.

Awareness raising

Alternative rituals

Laws and regulations

Female genital mutilation

Signatures

Keep up with us, keep up the fight

Follow our fight against female genital mutilation. Keep an eye on our social media. 

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