The Governor of Aswan Province, Egypt, Moustafa Yousry Attalah, held a celebration yesterday to honor mothers who had taken the bold decision to end FGM in their community, and to enroll their daughters in elementary school. It was held using the slogan “We are all responsible” and thanked the contributions of a range of figures in groups in making progress to end FGM.
The celebration was held with Dr. Hala Yousif of the National Council for Population and Dr. Talaat Abdel of the General Federation of NGOs in conjunction with a variety of representatives of civil and international organizations. Also present were 250 people from 16 villages in Aswan province. The event celebrated the successes made in combatting in Aswan over the past few years. The Governor said in his speech that “the problem of fighting FGM is a problem of the society with many aspects; health, psychological, social, family, economy.” 1 million Egyptian guineas were used to help launch and run initiatives across Aswan province.
The National Council for Population and the Family started the initiative to end FGM and support education in conjunction with the UN in 2003. It is an Egyptian government run body with the remit of improving the situation and rights of the Egyptian family. Last year the council launched a new strategy for empowering the Egyptian family, this initiative aimed at a more holistic approach using media to change perceptions of the role of rights in the Egyptian family.
The UN FGM-Free Village model has had successes in combatting FGM by persuading villages to issue proclamations ending the practice as a community together. It has been run by the UN volunteers in combination with NGOs and Egyptian government ministries and affiliates. The program has targeted villages in Aswan and surrounding governates in the south of Egypt where the practice is more common.
Since beginning, initiatives to end FGM have been run in 128 villages across the country, involving 20 civil society groups. 16 villages in Aswan have declared an end to the practice, and Aswan is becoming a progressive model for the rest of Egypt.