London Girls Summit Called to Curb FGM and Early Child Marriages

2515 Views Entebbe, Uganda

In short
The Summit is aimed at mobilizing domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation and child early and forced marriage within a generation. Currently in Uganda one percent of the total population has undergone Female Gential mutilation.

150 school going girls in Kalas Girls School last week were reported to have escaped being victims of female genital mutilation in Amudat in Karamoja region.
 
This comes just a week before the first United Kingdom Girls Summit in which the world will join hands to fight the practice.
 
The Summit is aimed at mobilizing domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation and child early and forced marriage within a generation.
 
Currently in Uganda one percent of the total population has undergone Female Gential mutilation.
 
However, Florence Auma a team leader for Gender UNFPA cites cases in Karamajoa and Sebei regions where she says once a girl as young as 8 year old is cut, she is considered ready for marriage.
 
Auma makes a passionate plea saying if there is no action taken now millions of girls will get married at a young age.
 
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The side effects of FGM include lifelong pain and trauma, prolonged bleeding, infections, infertility and even death.
 
Relatedly as a result of the Female Genital Mutilation, girls are forced into early child marriages. 
 
According to the Uganda Demographic Household Survey 2011, almost one in 2 married women making up 49% aged 20-49 report having married before the age of 18 years.
 
The UNFPA states that in Uganda, currently 20 women die daily due to child birth and pregnancy related complications. The maternal mortality rate currently stands at 438 out of every 100,000 live births out of which four in ten deaths are adolescent girls.
 
May Anyabulo the Deputy Representative UNICEF describes early child marriages as the elephant in the room of development since it leads to other complications such as maternal mortality and teen pregnancies.
 
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Mary Karooro Okurut the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development addressing girls of Mary Repatarix Secondary School in Entebbe notes that even though government passed the prohibition of the FGM Act 2010 this is not enough.
 
Karooro observes that the main challenge has been that some parents and guardians to settle such cases out of court by taking small gifts such as chicken, local brew, money and goats. She urges parents not to allow and ensure the court process takes precedence.
 
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Daniel Garymore the head of the UK Department for International Development says ending FGM needs a comprehensive approach across sectors, including prevention, partnership, provision of services and an effective criminal justice response.
 
The UK government in February this year signed a joint declaration setting out commitments to end the practice. The declaration included action from the department of health which announced that all acute hospitals will report information about the prevalence of FGM within their patient population each month.
 
 In 2012 an African led resolution calling for a ban to FGM was passed unanimously at the UN General Assembly. The UK has injected in 35 million Pounds for over 5 years targeting community level programming to support social norms change to galvanize a movement to end the practice working in ten countries Uganda inclusive.
 
 More than 125 million girls and women alive today have suffered some form of FGM in the 29 countries where the practice is concentrated.