This year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been held in Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region with calls for a collective effort to build an agile and resilient system that accelerates investment to end FGM.
“Ending FGM is not only about empowerment for girls and women, but also a quest to reduce poverty and make a giant stride in achieving development in the country; and also attain the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030,” according to the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF).
FGM is recognised globally as a violation of human rights that alters or injures the female genitalia for non-medical or religious reasons; leaving emotional and psychological scars and depriving girls of their physical integrity and freedom.
According to UNICEF data, globally over 200 million girls and women have underdone FGM; with nearly four million girls at risk of experiencing FGM annually.
A recent report from the population and housing census, 2021, indicated that the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among women 15-49 is at 2.4 percent – with high rates in the Upper West recording 32.5 percent and Upper East recording 13.2 percent respectively it said.
This year’s event was held under the theme ‘Accelerating investment to end female genital mutilation’, and took place at the Wa Regional House of Chiefs conference hall.
Speaking at the ceremony, Alhaji Mammah Tenii – Programme Specialist/Head of United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health (UNFPA) Decentralised Office, Tamale, said ending FGM is not the only a solution to empower girls and women but also a quest to reduce poverty.
He noted that FGM in Ghana is prevalent at the border towns, especially around some parts of the Upper East and West and Brong Ahafo Regions: saying “Within the Upper East – precisely Bawku, Pusiga and some parts of Paga and Navrongo – there is high prevalence of FGM”.
The Upper West Regional Director of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Charity Batuure, in an interview stated that the feeling of having sexual pleasure is missing when a woman is mutilated.
Some participants also expressed gratitude to government and the UNFPA for the education, and assured of their support to end FGM in their society.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and the UNFPA used the occasion to sensitise chiefs, queen mothers, imams and community members from two districts of the Upper West Region – namely Wa East and Wa West – on the importance of girls and women’s education as well empowerment in curbing poverty rates, especially in the rural areas.