Village Women Ban Female Genital Mutilation

Women in the remote village of Malicounda Bambara, Senegal have banned female genital mutilation (FGM). The village, approximately 40 miles from Dakar, is the first community in Senegal to prohibit FGM. Thirteen villages surrounding Malicounda have since prohibited the practice.

The women decided to ban FGM after taking classes offered by the government, religious groups, U.N. agencies and the non-governmental organization, TOSTAN. The classes were part of an intense anti-FGM awareness campaign focusing on excision, during which part or all of the labia and clitoris are amputated to remove a woman’s sexual desire, and its negative effects.

One Malicounda woman commented, “We do not want any more blood, any more suffering for our girls on their wedding night, no more girls dying from infection, hemorrhage or AIDS caused by excision.” Another Malicounda resident said, “We studied the rights of the individual, and we focused on the right to health that involves a woman’s freedom to make decisions about her body and to keep her body intact.”

FGM is practiced by approximately one-fifth of the Senegalese population. Political and religious leaders in Senegal have condemned the ritual.

Feminist News Stories on Female Genital Mutilation


One World/IPS - March 11, 1998

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