Somaliland: Residents Aver to Abandon All Forms of FGC


FGC Zero Tolerance DeclarationBy: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – A one year Toostan funded Community Empowerment Program (CEP) training in Hargeisa ended with a declaration to abandon all forms of female genital cutting-FGC

At a project phase out ceremony held at Isha Borame Estate in Hargeisa representatives of 21 city estates signed the Public Declaration Abandonment of All Forms of FGC in Hargeisa.

The proclamation of the FGC was witnessed by a multitude of city residents led by the 2nd Lady of Somaliland and included the Presidential advisor on women and minority affairs, Religious and traditional leaders, senior officials from the ministries of health and that of Social affairs as well as women based organizations.

The Isha Borame declaration read

“As from today and witnessed by politicians, traditional/religious leaders, government officials and the common man, do hereby declare that 21 estates from Maroodi Jeeh region that participated in the one year Toostan project have unanimously concurred as per the Abandonment of All Forms of FGC, the 21 estates will join the other 14 that had abandoned FGC in 2009.

The Toostan project beneficiaries further thanked the INGO for the training that provided enlightenment as per the ills of Female Genital Cutting.

Female genital mutilation, or FGM, is a traditional practice that is performed throughout the Horn of Africa and other parts of the continent. The procedure is often called female circumcision, and it is illegal but still common in Somaliland, where health care workers, activists and others are working to end it.

As many as 97 percent of girls and women in Somaliland are believed to have undergone the FGM procedure which involves cutting some or all of the external genitalia and commonly sewing up the genitalia, leaving a small hole for blood and urine to pass.

Complications for women who undergo FGM include acute bleeding, urinary infections, infertility, complications giving birth and even damage to the baby

Most women who have undergone FGM experience a wide range of medical problems, including acute bleeding, urinary infections, infertility, complications giving birth and even damage to the baby.

Edna Adan Ismail is the founder of a maternity hospital in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa and one of the first health-care professionals to bring the issue of FGM to the world’s attention.

She describes what happened to one 12-year-old girl whose opening in her sewn-up genitalia was too small. “The abdomen was distended. There was abdominal pain. We did an ultrasound scan [to determine,] ‘Is she pregnant? Why is the abdomen distending?’ Of course, the diagnosis was that this young lady had been menstruating and the blood had been collecting inside the body all these months,” she explained.

Tostan is a US 501(c)(3) nongovernmental organization. Based in Senegal, West Africa, Tostan is dedicated to educating and empowering Africans who have had little or no access to formal schooling. We work primarily in rural regions to provide basic education and increase community engagement in projects related to health and hygiene, child welfare, human rights and democracy, the environment, and economic development.

Tostan’s Founder and Executive Director, Molly Melching, began working in Senegal in the 1970s. Over 30 years later, Tostan remains committed to community-led grassroots development through the hundreds of African staff members who work in collaboration with volunteers, interns, partners, and supporters around the globe.

Recognized as a leader in non-formal education and community development, we are now expanding our operations to meet increased demand across Africa. Since its incorporation in 1991, Tostan has implemented its Community Empowerment Program (CEP) in thousands of communities in ten countries in Africa.

Currently, Tostan has operations in:

Djibouti, The Gambia,Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania Senegal

And Somaliland