Today, February 6th, is the internationally recognised day against female genital cutting (FGC). Today, fourteen communities, representing over 60,000 people, are declaring their abandonment of female genital cutting in Mali.
Approximately 2.8 million women and girls have undergone FGC in Mali, around 85%. This makes the declaration an important milestone, not least because the Government of Mali specifically chose the 6th February as the date for the declaration to show their support for an end to the practice. The upheaval in Mali over the past few years could have hampered efforts, but instead has hardened resolve.
This declaration, as well as outreach activities in support of the declaration to ensure the message spreads, are being funded by a charity I support – Orchid Project. The communities have come to this decision as a direct result of participation in the non-formal education programme of Orchid’s partner Tostan. Decisions such as this do not happen overnight. They are the result of years of work and by community members, who are making life changing decisions.
Overview press panel Public Declaration Koulikoro Fegoun ML, 8 Jun 2013
The work does not end here, however. The communities in Mali will join a larger movement for the abandonment of FGC in Africa. The message will continue to spread and attitudes will continue to change. Nearly 7,000 communities have already publicly declared their abandonment of FGC and the prevalence is falling in many countries. Today is the day to recognise these efforts and to pledge our support to ending female genital cutting.