Zero Tolerance to FGM
February 6th is International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM
International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM: a story of hope from DDP, Ethiopia
Mamite Wardolo, a 60-year-old mother of 8 children, had been practising Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) for nearly all her adult life, but does so no longer.
Mamite is a regular participant at the Women and Girls Resource Centre in Tulla sub city; a hub designed for women and girls of all ages to meet up for advice and counselling, to attend classes for literacy and numeracy and receive exam tutorials. The centre, set up through an earlier DDP and Berhan Lehetsanat (BL) project, is supported by UK Aid Direct through this programme and is run jointly by Tulla sub city’s Women’s Office and BL (DDP’s local partner). Mamite explained that she had been part of a long line of female FGM practitioners in her family that included her mother and grandmother before her. Mamite Wardolo no longer practices FGM/C. “Practicing FGM/C did not bring big rewards”, she said. “Maybe 10 to 20 BIRR (35 to 70p) each time a ‘service’ was provided, plus tea and snacks.”
However, being an FGM/C practitioner was a welcome source of income for Mamite and she felt that it brought her respect from within her community.
As the second wife of an older man, Mamite felt forced to keep practicing to support him and her family. Three years ago, there was a pivotal moment in Mamite’s life, when she realised she needed to stand up against harmful traditional practices (known as HTP in Ethiopia), like FGM/C. Mamite witnessed a young girl who had bled for 8 days after being cut by another practitioner. The girl’s life was saved but she was so badly injured that she will never be able to have children. For a mother of 6 daughters herself, this experience was too much for Mamite to ignore.
Read more of her story on UK AID DIRECT.