UN Launches Program to Decrease the Practice of FGM
The United Nations launched a program earlier this month to combat the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM). According to Inter Press Service (IPS), UNFPA and UNICEF have created a $44 million dollar program that plans to reduce FGM by 40 percent.
UNICEF defines FGM as partial or total removal of external genitalia and estimates that in Africa between 100 and 140 million women are victims of FGM. The UN News Centre says that FGM leaves "physical and psychological scars" and increases health risks especially during childbirth. FGM is most prevalent in Africa, but cases are also found in Asia, as well as in immigrant communities in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the US. According to IPS, more and more countries are criminalizing the practice of FGM.
UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid told IPS, "There is a decline in FGM prevalence in countries where FGM abandonment interventions have been going on for some years, such as Eritrea, Kenya, Mali, and Nigeria. However, despite some of these successes, the overall rate of decline is slow. We must speed it up."
The UNFPA program works to eradicate FGM through educational programs in schools as well as training for health and social workers. The program also advocates reform on the government level. For women who have already undergone FGM the program provide treatment and care. Additionally, UNFPA teaches the women practitioners of FGM other skills to generate income, therefore allowing them to abandon the practice.
Obaid called for more awareness of the practice in the world, "The international community must show renewed commitment and join hands with national governments to allocate sufficient funds to scale up community, national, regional, and global efforts to produce social change."
Media Resources: Women’s eNews 02/16/08; UNICEF (FMG/C); UN News Centre 02/06/08; Inter Press Service 02/12/08
9/29/2014 Hope for Afghan Women as New President is Sworn In - Ashraf Ghani, who has has publicly and consistently stated his support for women's rights and women's participation in government, was sworn in as the new President of Afghanistan today at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
Over 1000 national and international guests attended the ceremony, including high-ranking officials from the United Nations and 34 countries, including a delegation from the United States. . . .