Fathers Encouraging FGM in Karamoja, Sebei

2657 Views Moroto, Uganda

In short
Published in October 2017, the report shows that 35 percent of fathers encourage their daughters to go for FGM against 19 percent of mothers across Karamoja and Sebei sub regions. Amudat district registered the highest number of parents encouraging their daughters to get mutilated with 33 and 31 percent for fathers and mothers, respectively.

A new report by the United Nations Children's Education Fund-UNICEF produced in collaboration with Uganda Bureau of Statistics- UBOS implicates fathers in Karamoja sub region for encouraging Female Genital Mutilation- FGM. 


Published in October 2017, the report shows that 35 percent of fathers encourage their daughters to go for FGM against 19 percent of mothers across Karamoja and Sebei sub regions. Amudat district registered the highest number of parents encouraging their daughters to get mutilated with 33 and 31 percent for fathers and mothers, respectively.



The trend however differs in Kapchorwa with 23 percent of the mothers encouraging daughters against 13 percent fathers. The survey showed that Moroto district had the highest proportion of women who had undergone FGM. 



"Overall, close to three in every ten (27%) of females surveyed stated that they had been circumcised with Moroto district 52% registering the highest proportion while Kapchorwa had the lowest (13%)", part of the report reads. It also indicates that the prevalence of FGM increases with age.

With regard to the perceived benefits of FGM, nearly one fifth of the respondents (22%) indicated that the practice gives a girl acceptance by her peers. 17 percent believe that it makes a girl acceptable for marriage while 13 percent believe it makes a woman "complete."

 
However, five percent believe that a girl is not able to produce children if she's cut. 14 percent of the female respondents believe that a girl is not able to sexually satisfy her husband if she's cut.


Anne Nakoro, an elderly woman and one of the FGM survivors in Tapac, says peer influence is the major contributor of FGM. Making reference to her own case, the elder says she chose to mutilate against the wish of her parents and the entire family that was not practising FGM.
 
She notes that after realising the dangers of FGM during child birth, she then decided to rally behind the fight against FGM. The elder observes that FGM rendered some of her friends barren while others died giving birth. 


Elijah Lomiat Kuron, another elder in Tapac, says FGM routes in Tepeth out of the perceived importance of respect and cleanliness among the communities.  Lomiat, now an activist in the fight against FGM, notes that the only solution to FGM abandonment is the mindset. He applealed to government to popularize the benefits of staying uncut by constructing a model school in Tapac that will help girls enrol, stay and complete school. 


According to Sylvia Nakut, a peer educator and activist of FGM abandonment, although men take major decisions in the family, the FGM question is complex.  She notes that empowering girls with knowledge helps to avert the vice.



"We have had scenarios where girls run away from home once FGM plans are mooted by parents. With the existing laws, such a girl is protected and no parent will force her into mutilation. I support the idea of model school in Tapac for these girls and continued sensitization to wipe out FGM", Nakut said.


 
193 UN members states resolved to end FGM by 2030 during the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in September 2015. Mohamed Satti, the UN official charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating UN agencies in Karamoja, says there's need to strengthen co-ordination mechanism and continually engage communities, families and individuals to accelerate progress towards abandonment of FGM.


FGM is practiced in 15 sub counties in Kapchorwa, 12 sub counties in Bukwo and 11 sub counties in Kween- Sebei sub region. Moruita is the only sub county practicing FGM in Nakapiripirit district.  The survey report indicated that 95 percent of women in FGM communities want the vice to be discontinued.