Communication for Abandonment of Female Genital Cutting: An Approach Based on Human Rights Principles 1 NEIL FORD 2 UNICEF’s Regional Advisor for Programme Communication in Eastern and Southern Africa 1. Introduction UNICEF, with the rest of the development community, has long considered female genital cutting (FGC) a violation of the right of young women to sex- ual and reproductive health. It has tried several approaches to end the practice, including: – alternate rights of passage; – alternate livelihood strategies for circumcisers; – laws prohibiting FGC; and – health messages and public awareness campaigns. These approaches share a common feature: experts from outside the affected communities have initiated the interventions, often with little input or support from community members themselves. In addition, they have not been directed at the primary reason that FGC occurs – to ensure the marriageability of girls. While they have produced awareness in target audiences that FGC has negative health consequences and that other societies do not cut the genitals of young women, they have neither converted this awareness into changed practice nor produced large-scale abandonment of FGC (Mackie, 2000). Consequently, the prevalence of FGC has remained more or less constant in the 28 countries
The International Journal of Children's Rights – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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