Fight against FGM in Singida gets new drive

SINGIDA: FIGHT against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Singida region has gained a new impetus after a Dodoma-based non-governmental organisation called Women Wake Up (WOWAP) started implementing a project aimed at educating the community on health risks the tradition has to girls.

The new force has come up after it was found out that some communities in Singida District have invented a new method of mutilating babies by using ashes, wild fruits known as solanum aethiopicum (ndulele) or pinching up the baby’s private parts with a fingernail to evade the law.

WOWAP in collaboration with the Singida District council has come up with a plan to visit auction marts, public meetings and other gatherings across the district to educate the community on various health, psychological and social effects that can affect women and children who undergo FGM.

Delivering a message to a multitude of people that flocked Nkwae village auction mart in Msisi Ward, Social Welfare Officer for Singida District council, Felix Maigo urged people to stop the vice saying it was not at all productive to either women or girls who undergo such ritual.

“My brothers and sisters, female genital mutilation is not the right heritage for you but rather a high level of cruelty. If you want to get the right feeling of the exercise, try cutting off just part of your finger. Please, get off it,” he pleaded with them.

He listed some of the adverse effects for the FGM as death due to excessive bleeding, decreased sexual desire, risks during baby delivery and psychological effects including stress.

The Community Development Officer, Mr Peter Njau, mentioned some of the factors that cause people to continue embracing  FGM as maintaining traditions and customs, protecting the honour of the family and a sheer need to be accepted by the community especially; on marriage issue.

Njau, however said, that there was no need to continue implementing traditions or customs that are cruel to the society; especially to women and girls emphasising that FGM has more harm than the so called ‘benefits’ in women or children.

Project coordinator, Ms Nasra Suleiman revealed that WOWAP intends to go to each auction mart in the Singida District council to provide education on the adverse effects of female genital mutilation so that people can  get rid of the outdated culture.

According to the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey report (TDHS) for the year 2015 – 2016, the leading regions that practice FGM in the country include Manyara (58 per cent), Dodoma (47 per cent), Arusha 41 per cent, Mara 32 per cent and Singida 31 per cent.

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