Guinean Mosques join forces with EU, UN to end the scourge of clitoral ablation
Members of the European Parliament's Committee for Development after a meeting with the head of the Regional Health Directorate in Conakry, Tata Gakou, on April 4, 2018 (Photo: Mohamed Siali/EFE)
Conakry, Apr 9 (efe-epa).- Clitoral ablation in Guinea Conakry is a traditional practice affecting 90 percent of Guinean women and has forced international Aid organizations to seek the cooperation of the country's mosques to combat a deeply rooted African tradition that literally scars, or even terminates a woman's life.
The European Parliament response to this brutal tradition was to dispatch a parliamentary mission led by European Parliament member (MEP) Maria Noichl (S&D) and Polish MEP Adam Szejnfeld (EPP), who travelled to Guinea between April 4-6 to become acquainted with this Health initiative and other programs financed by the European Union such as the epidemic controls in-place since Guinea's 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak.
The MEP's held meetings with Guinean Health authorities and international organizations such as Unicef, the UN Population Fund (UNPF) and the World Health Organization (WHO.)
The WHO estimates between100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide have been subject to some degree of genital mutilation. Each year, three million African girls face the horror of clitoral ablation.
Guinea remains among the top nations where this practice is extensively performed (97 percent of Guinean women aged 15-49), although there appears to be some degree of change, as the figure drops to 46 percent among girls aged under 15, according to a 2015 Unicef report.
The same study reveals that only 21 percent of Guinean women consider this gruesome practice should be terminated. It is interesting to note that 38 percent of Guinean men favor ending this tradition.
According to UN Population Fund (UNPF) and Unicef reports, female clitoral ablation persists in Guinea, among other causes, that families are forced to respect cultural traditions and submit to peer pressure.
Furthermore, women are considered "dirty" or "impure" if they retain their clitoris. In Guinean tradition, medical complications due to ablation-related diseases are blamed on evil spirits.
In brief, neither the official campaigns seeking its eradication nor the legislative changes have succeeded in ending this practice, which remains widespread across all Western African nations, from Mauritania to Guinea Bissau.
By Mohamed Siali
Translated by N4E
"The project was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information for opinions expressed in the context of this project. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the project."