Almost 2,000 communities across Africa have abandoned female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in 2011, says two UN agencies February 6, 2012.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), this has brought the total number of communities renouncing the practice to 8,000 over the last few years.

With support from the two agencies, efforts against FGM/C have yielded encouraging results during 2011 in Africa.

“Throughout Africa, more than 18,000 community education sessions were held, almost 3,000 religious leaders publicly declared that the rite should end, and more than 3,000 media features have covered the subject,” the orgnisations said in a statement.

Adding “Consequently, almost 2,000 communities declared their abandonment of the practice during the year.”

“These encouraging findings show that social norms and cultural practices are changing, and communities are uniting to protect the rights of girls and women,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C February 6.

Dr Osotimehin called on the global community to join efforts in the fighting the problem.

“Together, we can end FGM/C in one generation and help millions of girls and women to live healthier, fuller lives, and reach their potential,” he added.

Each year, around three million girls and women—or some 8,000 girls each day—face the risk of mutilation or cutting and an estimated 130 million to 140 million girls and women have undergone the practice, mostly in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East, statistics from the UNFPA shows.

By Ekow Quandzie/ghanabusinessnews.com

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