Two Non-governmental Organisations working to promote human rights in deprive communities in the Bawku Municipality have organized a day’s forum to share research outcomes on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the area.
The research was to understand the intricacies of FGM and find lasting solution to address the phenomenon.
The BElim Wusa Development Agency (BEWDA) and Action Aid Ghana are the two NGOs involved in the research work.
FGM is a practice where female girls are taken for circumcision as a result of cultural beliefs in some parts of the north, depriving them from starting school in their early ages. This is because when they are circumcised it takes them a long time to recover.
The forum was to assess the practice in five communities including Mognori, Bardo, Mandago, Widana and Waanre all in the Pusiga District of the Upper East Region.
The research was to determine the rationale behind the practice, examine the actors involved and where they come from, and determine the level of awareness of the law prohibiting FGM in the country.
The forum brought together traditional leaders, community members, politicians, health practitioners, the media and stakeholders who matter in the fight against the menace and to find lasting solution in eradicating the practice.
Mr Shaibu Abubakar, Programmes Manager of BEWDA noted that the research was to find the reasons why the practice was carried out and the actors involved.
He indicated that the findings disclosed that most people became victims to the practice as a result of cultural beliefs and said “it is believed that if a woman does not go through the practice such woman was not legible for marriage”.
The Programmes Manager said because the laws of Ghana prohibit such practice, the culprits carry their victims from Ghana to neighbouring countries to undergo the circumcision.
Mr Abubakar called on policy makers to expedite action in curbing the problem saying it was the school going age girls who were most affected.
Mrs Rosemond Azure, Bawku Municipal Health Director, in a presentation said the practice was the major cause of maternal death in the north, where this practice was prominent.
Mrs Azure explained that a scare was left on the clitoris where the cutting takes place, and therefore the clitoris could not stretch during birth thereby giving high possibility deaths to mother and child during birth.
She indicated that the clitoris was a very soft organ and so as the circumcisions were done without medical supervision; it led to excessive bleeding and sometimes death of victims and said the practice was a torture in the life of every woman who went through it and this remained in her mind throughout her life.
A communiqué on female genital mutilation submitted by a girl-child club from the Pusiga Junior High School on behalf of the girls in the Upper East Region noted that FGM was an inhuman and violation of the rights of women and girls.
The communiqué stated that the protection and promotion of children’s rights was a moral and legal obligation which is incumbent on every parent, society and country.
It indicated that the practice was a violation to the physical and mental integrity, and a degrading treatment to women and girls.
The communiqué called on government to take pragmatic measures to support the law enforcement agencies including the Police, Commission for Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to equip them in training and publicity to enforce the law.