Tanzanian Coalition Formed to Fight FGM

Seven Tanzanian organizations have formed a coalition to fight female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice that affects nearly 90 million African women and is widespread in Tanzania. According to the coalition, at least 18 percent of Tanzanian women are victims of FGM, and there are some areas in northeastern Tanzania where 100 percent of women undergo FGM, reports IRIN News. The coalition will launch on Sunday, marking the first International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day.

The coalition believes that the Tanzanian government lacks the political will to end FGM, stating that government has passed laws but has not put aside the necessary resources and money needed to implement the laws, reports Reuters.

UNICEF estimates that the total number of women living today who have been subjected to FGM in Africa ranges between 100 and 130 million. This means that approximately 2 million girls are mutilated every year. In addition, according to Xinhuanet, a recent survey conducted by the Tanzania Media Women Association found that almost 99 percent of those interviewed in the survey believe that FGM is fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country due to the sharing of knives and razor blades used to carry out the circumcision.

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IRIN News 2/4/05; Reuters 2/4/05; Xinhuanet 2/1/05

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