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In January 2024, the team of the International Observatory on Violence against Women organized a training seminar in Banjul, the Gambia. This training, which is an integral part of the international program “Territories protecting women victims of violence” implemented by the Observatory on Violence against Women of Seine-Saint-Denis and UCLG and co-financed by AFD, aimed to facilitate the exchange of experiences among local communities in Africa regarding policies and programs to fight female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and sexual violence.

200 million women and girls aged 15 to 49 have undergone female genital mutilation (UNICEF, 2016).

Female genital mutilation is most often practiced on young girls between childhood and the age of 15.

According to the UN, if female genital mutilation practices persist in countries where they are most commonly practiced and for which more recent data is available, 68 million girls will be subjected to genital mutilation between 2015 and 2030.

The ten most affected countries in Africa for which data is available are: Guinea (94.5%), Mali (88.6%), Sierra Leone (83%), Eritrea (83%), Burkina Faso (75.8%), Gambia (72.6%), Mauritania (66.6%), Ethiopia (65.2%), Guinea-Bissau (52.1%), and Ivory Coast (36.7%).

As a violation of fundamental rights, female genital mutilation is condemned by numerous international texts, including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Most countries practicing female genital mutilation have ratified these texts; however, national laws prohibiting these harmful traditional practices either do not exist or are not enforced.

The seminar was organized into theoretical sessions and workshops. The theoretical session on female genital mutilation was opened by a presentation by Ernestine Ronai on prevention and protection programs for victims of female genital mutilation in Seine-Saint-Denis. Subsequently, Yvette Kabuo, legal and socio-economic reintegration expert for victims of sexual violence in the Central African Republic (NENGO project), presented a model for holistic care of victims of female genital mutilation.

Girls and women victims of female genital mutilation need medical, social, and legal support."
Yvette Kabuo Tshong

Yvette Kabuo’s presentation led to an open discussion with the participants about the reality on the ground in each territory. Some participants also testified to having been victims of female genital mutilation themselves.

Mahamat’s testimony – Chad

Mariam ‘s testimony – The Gambia

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