The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has triggered another phase in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation [FGM] using a novel, “The Switch.”
FGM involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It’s practised in Amudat district, Moruita sub county in Nakapiripirit and Tepeth county in Moroto district. FGM is also practised in Kween, Kapchorwa and Bukwo districts among the Sabiny.
In September 2015, at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, countries pushed FGM to be abandoned by 2030.
In her bid to end the vice, Speaker Kadaga has embarked on the ‘The Switch’, a story book written by the General Duties minister, Mary Karoro Okurut, about FGM. It depicts the travails of Chelimo, a brilliant young girl from Kapchorwa whose life, takes a horrendous turn after undergoing FGM.
In the book, Chelimo’s struggles in life are at odds with the promises she was given at circumcision and as a government minister, she embarks on a delicate personal crusade to ensure that the girls of her tribe do not ever have to face the dangers posed by the knife.
While officiating at the FGM Zero Tolerance Day at Lemusui primary school in Moruita sub county, Nakapiripirit district this week, Kadaga said the book should help communities abandon the practice.
The Speaker carried more than 30 copies of ‘The Switch’ and distributed them to politicians, technocrats and locals in all the districts practising FGM in Karamoja.
Rebecca Kwagala, the UNICEF chief for Karamoja sub region called for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to end FGM.
“If we do not unite urgently to take action, 54 million girls could be subjected to FGM by 2030.
According to UNICEF, over 200 million girls and women alive today have experienced FGM in 30 countries concentrated in parts of Africa, the middle East and Indonesia.
“FGM is closely linked to other forms of gender inequality and harmful practices against women such as child and forced marriages,” Kwagala noted while reading the speech by the Resident Coordinator of UN.
FGM study by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) 2016 indicates that over 95 percent of the people don’t support the vice. It also shows a decrease in the prevalence from 50 and 95 percent to 27 percent in Karamoja and Sebei sub regions.
However, residents at Lemusui told this publication that much as information has trickled down into communities about the dangers of FGM, some elders still force their children to be mutilated. They revealed that the practice is done in bushes towards harvesting season and the survivors kept in granary until they heal.
The theme for the FGM Zero tolerance this year is “Ending Female Genital Mutilation is a Political Decision.”