Two organisations carry out study on FGM

Two non-governmental organisations working to promote human rights in deprived communities in the Bawku Municipality have organised a day’s forum to share the findings of the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the area.

The research was carried out to enhance the understanding of the people in the practice in order to  find a lasting solution to address the phenomenon.

The BElim Wusa Development Agency (BEWDA) and ActionAid Ghana were the two NGOs involved in the research work.

FGM is a practice where girls are circumcised as a result of cultural beliefs in some parts of the north, depriving them of schooling  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—Mognori, Bardo, Mandago, Widana and Waanre in the Pusiga District in the Upper East Region.

The forum brought together traditional leaders, community members, politicians, health practitioners, the media and stakeholders who matter in the fight against the menace. 

The Programmes Manager of BEWDA, Mr Shaibu Abubakar, noted that the research was to find the reasons for the practice and identify the actors involved.

Participants at the forum
He indicated that the findings disclosed that most people became victims of 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 is not legible for marriage.”

He added that because the laws of Ghana prohibited such practice, the culprits carried 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 girls of school age were the most affected.

The Bawku Municipal Health Director, Mrs Rosemond Azure, said the practice was the major cause of maternal death in the north, where this practice is most prominent.

She explained that a scar was left on the clitoris — where the cutting took place, and therefore the clitoris could not stretch during birth, a high possibility of death of mother and child during birth.

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 inhuman and a violation of the rights of women and girls.

The communiqué stated that the protection of children’s rights was a moral and legal obligation on every parent, society and country.

It indicated that the practice was a violation of the physical and mental integrity of girls and degrading to them.

The communiqué called on the government to take pragmatic measures to support the law enforcement agencies, including the Police, Commission for Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), by equipping them in training and in enforcing the law. — GNA

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