FGM is still widespread in some regions of the African continent and around the world. In Tanzania noted in the regions of Mara, Dodoma, Singida, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Arusha regions, where thousands of young girls are mutilated annually. This is despite the efforts of civil society and, to some extent, the government in fighting the barbaric practice.
In the past, when a girl is at teenager age, they would have been sent to a matron’s house where traditional circumcisers would be waiting with their knives, followed with celebration that a girl has made a step into womanhood that she is as well ready for getting married. Due to ongoing campaign against female cut, this time around, they circumcise when it is still at the age of a baby. This causes a lot of pain forced to endure which sometimes leads to death.
Many African governments and stakeholders have made some progress in recent years, but a lot more needs to be done to educate the people on the inherent dangers of this cruel custom to help reverse the trend. The situation is worse in the rural areas, where parents may not be aware that FGM is a serious human rights abuse issue. In other words, ignorance is playing a key role in perpetuating the practice. The majority have a narrow understanding of the consequences, as they lack knowledge of its harmful effects.
To some extent, changing traditions is hard, especially for communities such as the Maasai, who still live strongly according to what is termed as “the most beautiful cultural traditions”, here law must apply!
Largely to blame are the local leaders, especially at the village level, who are well aware of the wild practice in their areas, but choose to turn a blind eye. FGM festivals are elaborate affairs in some regions where local leaders cannot claim to be unaware of the annual rituals that draw hundreds of participants. It is not teenage girls or baby girls, who want this tradition but adults, adults have so much control over their children in rural areas where gender activists are very few, there is a need to enforcing strong law to protect teenage girls, there is a need of increasing public campaigns to raise awareness against this evil practice.
It is shame, for a modern youth to remain silent in this matter, or still embracing the primitive and dangerous traditional ritual of female genital mutilation in 21st century! Why not undergoing the traditional rite of passage into womanhood without undergoing the female cut instead? Why not consider to include training in Sexual and Reproductive Health, given by trained medical staff?