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100 quit female circumcision, preach against the vice

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By Sandra Janet Birungi

Posted  Friday, July 18   2014 at  01:00
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KAMPALA:
More than 100 women trained in female circumcision have abandoned the trade in the last one year, according to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

Mr Harriet Akullu, the child protection specialist with Unicef, said many women who had for years spearheaded female genital mutilation have now been advocating against the trade and teaching about its dangers.

“More than 500 girls have been rescued in the last one year. Just last week, more than 150 ran away in Amudat District and sought refuge at a nearby school,” she said.

Ms Akullu made the revelation while conducting a dialogue with students of Mary Reparatrix Secondary School in Entebbe yesterday, ahead of the Global Girl Summit scheduled for next week in London, UK.
Ms May Anyabolu, the Unicef deputy country representative, said female genital mutilation was more active in the Karamoja and Sebei regions.
It is estimated that 90 per cent of girls in these areas have gone through the practice or are being prepared to get initiated.

These regions cover the districts of Nakapiririt, Amudat, Moroto, Bukku, Kween and Kapchorwa.
“As you can see schools continue to protect girls from mutilation. If children are kept in schools, they are protected against the practice and child marriages among other vices,” she added.
In Uganda, a law criminalising female genital mutilation was enacted in 2012.
However, according to Ms Akullu, available figures do not give a clear presentation of the rate of practice currently.

Speaking about child marriages in Uganda, Ms Mary Karooro Okurut, the minister of Gender, called for a better justice system that handles cases of genital mutilation which fall under defilement but end up in local council offices instead of courts of law.

The Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2011 indicate that more than 50 per cent of women between the age of 20 and 40 years were married before the age of eighteen. According to Ms Florence Auma, the United Nations Population Fund team leader, this translates into the death of four out of 10 pregnant girls daily.

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