These are the young men struggling against all odds to legislate change in a generation and be enhanced the lives of Somali women
In Somaliland, Unicef estimates that about 98% of girls and women between 15 and 49 are subjected to some form of female genital mutilation almost a despairing figure. This is largely an issue in the hands of the status of women, and not something openly discussed. Yet Unicef believes it is vital that humen are part of any solution. Young humen of the states of the region who are against the practice are forming a growing movement for change, but the drought crisis is predominating people lives right now.
The first thing I did as a campaigner is convince my sister not to do Type III FGM on her daughter. I told her about the side effects and I also made her listen to Islamic intellectuals that are against the practice to depict her that FGM is not religious. After a lot of negotiation, she agreed and didnt do it. I am proud of that. Khadar, is now working as a project co-ordinator for ActionAid. He was trained by the indigenous-Somali organisation Candlelight.
Men, in general do not speak about FGM. It remains a taboo, he says.
Men here are the heads of the household and this means they can play an important role in terminating FGM, if they chose to.
While investigating at the University of Hargeisa, Khadar was exposed to the realities and the effects of FGM on womens health. Once I realised the psychological and physical trauma, I was against it. He became an anti-FGM diplomat at his university and felt more confident in challenging some of his peers. When I tell others all the facts, specially young people, they are easily persuaded. Lack of knowledge is the reason FGM is still practiced in Somaliland. I am confident that FGM can be eradicated in one generation.
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