What is it?
“Between 100 and 140 million women and girls around the world have experienced the procedure, including 92 million in Africa.”
Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Between 100 and 140 million women and girls have experienced cutting, including 92 million in Africa.
FGM is illegal in Tanzania and yet is still widely practiced. If a person is caught or involved in any way in cutting, that person will be prosecuted, fined and jailed. A girl’s body belongs only to her and not to her mother, grandmother, husband, her priest or Imam, her community or country. Cutting her body is a violation of her human right under the 1989 convention on the rights of the child. Moreover, cutting of girls and women is a violation of their right to a healthy sexual life as this practice is usually undertaken without their informed consent, depriving them the opportunity to make independent decisions about their bodies.
According to 2015/16 TDHS, data shows that 10% of women aged 15-49 have been circumcised, a decline from 15% in the 2010 TDHS. The changes are slow because the percentage level have remained the same for the past three seasons of the TDHS 2004/ to 2010 from 18% TDHS 1996. FGC/M prevalence in rural areas is double than in urban areas. The highest percentages of circumcised women are in Manyara and Dodoma regions (58% and 47%, respectively). 81% of circumcised women reported that some flesh was removed from their genitals, and 7% were infibulated. 86% of women’s circumcisions were performed by traditional agents. 35% of circumcised women aged 15-49 were circumcised before reaching the age of 1 and 28% were circumcised at the age of 13 or older. 84% of Tanzanian females and 79% of males believe cutting should be stopped (UNICEF 2011).
In the areas where FGM is widespread, such as Manyara, Dodoma, Arusha, Singida and Mara, 1 in 2 women have undergone the procedure.
FGM prevalence according to region is:
- Manyara 71%
- Dodoma 64%
- Arusha 59%
- Singida 51%
- Mara 40%
FGM is linked to many severe consequences, some of which include:
- Short-term physical complications: (a) Pain, bleeding (b) shock (c) fever (d) sexually transmitted diseases (e) failure of the wound to heal (f) injury to adjacent tissues
- Long-term physical complications: (a) Difficulty in passing urine (b) urinary tract infection (c) pelvic infection disease (d) infection of the reproductive system (e) inability to have babies (f) infertility (g) difficulties in menstrual flow (h) calculus formation (i) problems in childbirth (j) HIV/AIDS (k) sexual complications and (l) painful sexual intercourse
What we’re Doing
In the area of FGM, CDF approaches the subject with:
Community Engagement models
We engage the community itself, government and traditional leaders, religious leaders and other stakeholders to strengthen the partnerships in the fight against FGM, the custom behind it and the perception associated with the practice.
- Ex. In June 2015, CDF conducted a one day consultative meeting with religious and traditional leaders aiming to create interfaith forums to fight against child marriage and FGM in the Tarime district. The forum was composed of 25 leaders, members of the Police Gender Desk, social welfare officers and 3 media representatives
Capacity Development and Empowerment Training
With several trainings & workshops that address the build-up of skills for children, specifically girls, CDF works actively towards the empowerment of children. Trainings include business & entrepreneurial skills, nutritional education, health and sexual reproductive health and rights services, etc.
- Ex. 1967 girls to date that ran away due to FGM were rescued and receive support
- Ex. Over 160 girl are advocates and leaders in their communities through the girls clubs and young women’s network.
- Ex. More than 3,838 community members including traditional and faith leaders have been made aware of girls’ rights – particularly the harmful effects of FGM, child marriage and GBV. This increases community support, as well as actions to protect girls’ from harmful practices
With campaigning we strategically raise awareness with the stakeholders in their own communities. Such campaign examples include:
- Ex. End Violence Against Children 2014
- Ex. House to House Campaign 2014 (Girls club and networks were provided with funds to support house to house campaigning on their activities & plans to end child marriage and FGM, as well as to raise awareness of the issues, reaching 1500+ girls)
- More than 20,000+ girls have been saved from FGM
- 1,967 girls that have escaped from FGM and have sought refuge at the Masanga Centre and have been rescued from the harmful practice, receiving support by the Police Gender Desk
- Training on sexual reproductive health and legal services have increased the number of girls that now access SRH services at the hospitals. Over 1,628 girls and young women have reported increased knowledge of SRH issues, their rights, entitlements and services through participating in clubs and networks. 1,130 girls and young women have accessed contraceptives, as well as changing attitudes on gender based violence (GBV)
- CDF has aired several radio programs & TV shows regarding the subjects of FGM
- As a direct result of entrepreneurial trainings and awareness raising, young girls and women have involved themselves in alternative income generating activities, such as owning their own beauty salons, vegetable & poultry farms, tailor shops, etc. 187 Girls and young women have improved livelihoods and confidence in financial decision making. Over 160 girl are advocates and leaders in their communities through the girls clubs and young women’s network.