Your hair is an important part of your appearance and is often used by people when evaluating your overall beauty.
Many African countries that are affected by FGM have made it a priority to ‘end FGM’ and are continually advocating strongly against the practice. They have adopted a variety of interventional approaches that bring together the social and economic aspects and needs of individuals and use them to seek alternatives to the ‘cut’.
Awareness campaigns are also carried widely in the local media while individuals from the police, educationists, military and other teams are engaged in the information dissemination processes. Wellstructured and illustrated signposting plus dedicated hotlines to report suspected cases of FGM and for survivors or other affected parties to receive counselling and support have been made available.
These countries have also integrated FGM training into their medical training such as in the reproductive health programmes. Countries such as Burkina Faso are also developing specialist clinics that will cater for complications arising from FGM. They have also adopted technology to provide up-to-date information on FGM that helps them evaluate to and monitor the progress.
Unlike financially and technologically disadvantaged countries, the UK has resources and infrastructure to develop these systems quickly and more effectively. The UK should adopt such steps and ensure that FGM is eradicated in this country.
“There is need for improved awareness for everyone in the community, especially among the medical, police, counsellors and other professionals. We need to raise awareness about the “disgusting” practice of FGM”, said Dr Yvonne Obura. Dr. Obura, a 26 year old junior doctor, was recently honoured by the Prime Minister, David Cameron for her role in helping to educate thousands of medical students about FGM.
Dr Obura said that she was inspired by a case of an FGM victim whom she saw in 2012 while working at a hospital in Slough. “I realised a lot of my colleagues did not know about FGM and even those who had come across it before were quite uncomfortable about broaching the topic with a patient. I realised that not many medical schools teach it in their syllabus”.
The Prime Minister presented said that, “only by working together to raise awareness of this disgusting and unacceptable practice can we end it for good. Yvonne is playing an important role in these vital efforts.”
Mojatu Foundation is working with Utulivu Women Group of Reading and other partners to increase awareness and in identifying ways to include more stakeholders, especially men, in the activities to eliminate FGM.
Cecily Mwaniki, the director of Utulivu Women’s Group said: “Men are major players in the FGM campaign. It is also important to include people from other cultures in the debate for us to make lasting impact in this campaign and to effectively address the existing loopholes within the UK law in relation to FGM. Work by Utulivu Women’s Group on FGM show that men (fathers, husbands, brothers and uncles) both within and outside the cultural groups that practice FGM are rarely engaged in the issue. Most of them have little or no awareness about the physical, emotional and psychological effects of the practice.
“The overall consensus is that men need to be part of the campaign. There is a huge vacuum for information dissemination and increased awareness. We are thus launching a booklet and an online and mobile mapping tool on FGM in the near future.” She said.