IRIN Examines Efforts To Ban, Reduce Incidence Of FGM/C In Sierra Leone

“Campaigns to lower the rate of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Sierra Leone are having some impact, but efforts to ban the practice have failed thus far, and despite a push to communicate its health risks, many still believe FGM/C promotes good health and hygiene,” IRIN reports in an article examining political efforts to ban or discourage the practice. In October 2012, eight of the country’s 14 districts signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) criminalizing FGM/C among children, but “[w]hile the new government hails the MOU as a milestone achievement, critics argue that it has not achieved much,” according to the news service, which also examines the impact of health education campaigns. “‘The issue of FGM/C is sensitive. If those advocating against FGM/C win, we will join them later. But if they lose, we will support our people. We cannot afford to lose our ballots because of putting a ban on FGM/C of the girl child,’ said a leading politician from the ruling All People’s Congress party,” IRIN writes (12/17).