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Men speak out about FGM

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Saturday, February 20th, 2016
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“I want to marry an uncut girl” – Alemayehu, 14, schoolboy

”I’m a member of a boys’ club supported by Plan International. We discuss harmful practices in our club meetings and spread the word to our friends.

“Before I joined the club, I didn’t know much about FGM, only that it was something that should be done and that, as a result, childbirth can be difficult.

“I have 4 older sisters. One of them had such a hard delivery that she almost died. The traditional circumciser in our village has performed FGM on all my big sisters.

“At times, it feels awkward to speak about FGM as a boy. It used to be unacceptable, and the topic was a complete taboo. But I pluck up courage from the thought that if I and other boys stay silent, our sisters and friends will die.

“As I have spoken against FGM, my parents have started to listen to me and changed their minds. They have regretted what they did and promised that my fifth sister will not have FGM.

“I want to marry an uncut girl.”

FGM Uncut
Alemayehu, 14, is a member of a boys’ club supported by Plan International.

“I wish my wife and daughters had not been cut” – Shalamo Shanana, 65, farmer

“When the Plan International community discussion project came to our village, I was against it. It felt unpleasant that people I did not know came to our village and claimed our traditions were harmful.

“My opposition lasted for 18 months. Gradually, I started to change my mind as I heard real-life stories of the consequences of FGM. After hearing these, I realised that, in my heart, I could no longer accept FGM.

”I have 3 girls. They were all cut at the age of 12. They were married at 18. I always took it for granted that my daughters would be cut. Otherwise, our community would have turned its back on them. They would have been considered indecent and no man would have wanted to marry them. My wife has had FGM, too.

“Now I wish my wife and daughters had not been cut. I am now the grandfather of 3 little girls and I will not accept FGM on them. I also want to protect the other girls in our village by talking about the topic. I want to show an example to other men.”

Shalamo Shanana, 65, a farmer has learnt about the dangers of FGM from Plan International.
Shalamo Shanana, 65, a farmer has learnt about the dangers of FGM from Plan International.

“ I want to become an example of attitude change” – Abebe Dona, 45, village chief

”When the Plan International project launched in our village, we were against our traditions being questioned. But, as I am the village chief, I had to take part in the discussions.

“Very soon, I began to realise that many of our traditions – like FGM, child marriage, severe corporal punishment of children and polygamy – are not good. I decided I want to become an example of attitude change.

“My wife has had FGM and so have my 2 daughters. They have all had protracted and painful deliveries. I only realised at Plan International’s training that this was due to FGM.

“My wife suffers pain because of the damage caused by FGM and childbirth. Sometimes it is hard for her to manage her household work. She has no interest in sex and does not feel much during it.

“If I had known the consequences of FGM, I would not have let it happen to my daughters.

“I am happy the project came to our village. Our community is doing better as a result.”

Village chief Abebe Dona, 45, is happy that the children's welfare project came to his village.
Village chief Abebe Dona, 45, is happy that the children’s welfare project came to his village.

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