Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Ghana: woman imprisoned for performing female circumcision

The 70-year-old woman was sentenced to five years in prison.

The legal system is certainly one way to challenge this tradition. But to my mind, the more interesting effort was one tried in Kenya. This article is a few years old ... it talks about how a women's NGO in Kenya introduced an alternative rite of passage for girls, "Circumcision Through Words".
It uses a week-long program of counseling, capped by community celebration and affirmation, in place of the widely criticized practice also known as female genital mutilation (FGM).
I'm not sure if the Kenya project is still going on but the core of the strategy makes sense to me. It recognizes the need/desire for a rite of passage and creates something to replace the damaging tradition.