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Public Declaration Abandonment of All Forms of FGC
After two years of human rights based learning through Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP) funded by UNICEF, twenty-eight communities of Maroodi Jeex, Somaliland declared their abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC) and child/forced marriage on July 7, 2012. Moderated by the Second Lady of Somaliland,
the event was held in Hargeisa and was attended by a multitude of city residents, including the Presidential Advisor on Women’s and Minority Affairs, religious and traditional leaders, senior officials from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs, as well as representatives from several women’s organisations.
The formal declaration read “As from today and witnessed by politicians, traditional/religious leaders, government officials and the common men, women and children, we 28 communities of Maroodi Jeex do hereby declare unanimously the abandonment of all forms of FGC.” These twenty-eight communities will join the twenty communities that abandoned FGC in Somaliland in 2009.
The CEP participants, most of whom had never had the opportunity to attend formal school, thanked Tostan for the training on democracy, human rights, problem solving, and hygiene and health provided in national languages. In an interview on Somali BBC radio, one woman stated, “the empowerment I received from Tostan will save my two younger daughters from being cut; their older sisters were not as fortunate.” The event was attended by more than 5,000 people and was broadcasted on BBC radio and shown on local television.
Concluding the festivities, Tostan National Coordinator, Birima Fall, congratulated the declaring communities on their progress in achieving positive social norm change. He extended his thanks to the Government of Somaliland, UNICEF, local NGO partners, and members of the Tostan communities. He said further that Tostan Somalia will continue working with more communities in the coming phases of the CEP to achieve its goal of reaching total abandonment of all forms of FGC in Somaliland.