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EA Federation Posing Challenges for FGM Activists

There is need to check free movement of persons in the East African region if Female Genital Mutilation—FGM is to be eliminated. Dora Byamukama, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly—EALA notes that with the integration, border restrictions will be no more thus the need to protect the girl child and women.

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There is need to check free movement of persons in the East African region if Female Genital Mutilation—FGM is to be eliminated.

 

Dora Byamukama, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly—EALA notes that with the integration, border restrictions will be no more thus the need to protect the girl child  and women.

 

Female Genital Mutilation is the procedure of total or partial removal of female genitalia. While in Uganda it is practiced by less than 1% of the total population, the percentage is high among communities in Eastern and Northern Uganda.

 

According to the ministry of gender 95% of the Pokot and 50% of the Sabiny women undergo the practice.

 

Byamukama cites the Kalenjin group including the Pokot, Tepeth in Moroto and Sabiny who have a cultural leader from Kenya but have no boundaries controlling them.

 

She reveals that a motion has been passed at the EALA and a process is underway to enact a law to control FGM at a regional level.

 

//Cue in: Some of our cultural groups…”

 Cue out:…FGM at a regional level.”//

 

FGM’s immediate complications can include severe pain, shock, bleeding, bacterial infection, urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue.

 

Long term consequences include recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, infertility, cysts and an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

 

The procedure is mainly carried out on young girls between infancy and 15 years. In Uganda by 1990, 1000 girls had been both voluntary and forced into the practice. However by 2010 the practice decreased to 190 girls.

 

Urban cases have also been reported especially among the Somali community living in Kisenyi, a Kampala suburb and the Nubians living in Bombo. Byamukama warns that as residents of Uganda now, the laws against the practice will be applicable to immigrants.

 

//Cue in: Prominently in the area of…”

 Cue out:…is that of Uganda.”//

 

Ruth Nakadama, the state Minister for Gender and Cultural affairs says although progress has been made in enactment and enforcement of the laws, community support is needed to increase grass root engagement.

 

 //Cue in: A lot still needs…”

Cue out:…towards social norms change.”//

 

In Uganda, the districts of Kapchorwa, Kween, Bukwo, Amudat, Nakapirpirit and Moroto practice FGM.

 

This comes as Uganda prepares to join the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation on February 6th. The national event will take place in Amudat in which communities will be encouraged to abandon the practice.

 

It is estimated that between 120 to 140 million women worldwide have been subjected to this brutal act and three million girls in Africa continue to be at risk each year.

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