The debate was attended by members of civil society, academics, women’s organizations, and officials from the Ministry of Women Development and Family Affairs, and the Ministry of Information, Communication, Tourism, Heritage and Culture of Puntland government.
In Somalia, the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is deeply rooted in the cultural traditions of the communities. Despite efforts to eradicate the practice, FGM remains prevalent.
The meeting was intended to analyze the achievements aimed at the prevention and control of FGM in terms of awareness, and prevention, and also to discuss the challenges ahead of efforts to eliminate harmful female genital mutilation.
One of the main challenges discussed was the lack of understanding among some community members, especially in rural areas about the harmful effects of FGM. In many cases, FGM is seen as a necessary rite of passage for girls and is believed to promote cleanliness and modesty.
The discussion also focused on the need to engage men and boys in efforts to end FGM. While the practice is often seen as a women’s issue, men have an important role to play in promoting its abandonment. By speaking out against FGM, men can help to create a social norm against the practice.
Despite these challenges, there was a sense of optimism among the participants. Many pointed to the progress that has been made in recent years, including the passage of laws criminalizing FGM and the establishment of community-led initiatives to promote its abandonment.
The Ministry of Women’s GBV Department Director, Amin Mohamoud Nur, said that awareness has been ongoing since the establishment of the Puntland Ministry of Women, and both The Ministry and the partner organizations constantly work to raise awareness and stop the circumcision practices that harm girls and to inform the Puntland community about the FGM problems.
Aamino also mentioned that with the progress achieved is noticeable in that most of the community is now aware of the disastrous consequences of FGM problems and has a better understanding of female genital mutilation.
Farhiyo Yusuf Hirsi from the civil society also said that the civil society is making strong efforts to raise and deliver awareness in order to successfully control and prevent the problems faced by girls and women in remote areas.
The Ministry of Information’s Director of the Department of Heritage and Culture Halimo Ali Biyod stated that FGM awareness has been going on for a number of years and people in the cities are now well sensitized of the disastrous impact of FGM but it is necessary to speed up the awareness and reach the remote areas.
Muhubo Said Mohamed from the local NGOs emphasized that significant achievements have been made and the society now has a good understanding of the problems of female genital mutilation, but awareness needs to be strengthened in order to achieve the goal of eliminating female genital mutilation from Somalia.
This discussion is part of the project to raise awareness about female genital mutilation, which we are implementing with the support of GIZ. The project also includes social awareness messages and training for journalists.