Her Voice, Her Future: Investing in Survivor-led Movements to End Female Genital Mutilation in Ghana
05 February 2024
The practice of FGM carries severe life-long mental and reproductive health risks and complications. FGM survivors suffer unbearable pain, excessive bleeding, swelling of genital tissues and excruciating urination among others. The long-term consequences of FGM is immeasurable and often leads to complications during childbirth, resulting in obstetric fistula and sometimes, even death. The global estimates, show that the financial cost of health care for FGM survivors is USD 1.4 billion every year!
Whilst Ghana prides herself of her rich cultural diversity and upholds the positive cultural values, social norms, and traditions of her people, it is imperative while doing these to also ensure that the fundamental human rights of women and young girls are also protected. We therefore need to confront the cultural norms and misconceptions perpetuating this harmful practice. The practice of FGM is not an acceptable rite of passage; it is an affront to the rights and dignity of women and girls. The government of Ghana, as a champion of human rights and progress, need to take bold and decisive action to end the practice of FGM within its borders and tackle the cross-border dimensions where girls are taken into neighbouring countries to undergo the practice as highlighted by 20% of respondents from the baseline survey. The Government’s involvement should include the rigorous enforcement of existing laws and initiatives to raise awareness about harmful effect of FGM, its human rights implications and the disempowerment it causes to women and girls; and that FGM is being done against national laws. Service delivery points could also be used to implement risk education programmes, investigate cases, and use antenatal and child welfare clinics for effective monitoring of FGM.