Burkina Faso youth join fight to end female genital mutilation

March 09, 2024 08:37 am | Updated 08:37 am IST - Ouagadougou

Youngsters in Burkina Faso are joining the state in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) as population displacement caused by jihadist violence threatens significant progress made over the last decade. Cases of FGM have been recorded in areas to where people affected by the violence have fled.

Since 2015, almost 20,000 people have died in the unrest and more than two million been displaced in the Sahel nation of 23 million inhabitants, the majority of whom are women.

“Today, in areas where we have made gains, we are in the process of moving backwards because there are community practices that are transferred with the displacement of populations,” said Bilal Sougou, child protection head at UNICEF-Burkina.

“I hope that within five years we will have succeeded in halving the current figures.”

Burkina Faso is one of 29 countries most affected by FGM, according to UNICEF, but the practice has declined thanks to the commitment of the state and the mobilisation of young girls and boys.

The percentage of girls and women aged between 15 and 49 subject to FGM dropped from 76%in 2021 to 56% in 2020.

“To date, almost 400 cases of circumcisers or people who have practised circumcision have been brought before the courts,” Mr. Sougou added. A mobilisation of young people plays an important role in decreasing FGM cases.

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