In 1999, almost 97% of the people favored FGM in Kembatta-Tembaro people (~680,000 population), according to a study. By 2008, less than 5% supported the practice.

By Amy Yee (VOA News) |

At least 200 million women alive today in 30 countries have been subjected to the painful procedure known as female genital mutilation, a practice the U.N. says is deeply rooted in tradition in some cultures. About half of those women come from Egypt, Somalia and Ethiopia.

But in Ethiopia, the nonprofit organization KMG has made major progress against the practice. KMG began educating people about the harmful effects of female genital mutilation in the southern region of Kembatta-Tembaro in 1998.

In 1999, almost 97 percent of the people favored FGM in Kembatta-Tembaro, an area of about 680,000 people, according to a UNICEF study. By 2008, less than 5 percent supported the practice.

And in Ethiopia as a whole, 74 percent of women and girls were mutilated out of a population of 94 million, according to 2005 statistics. A decade later, national prevalence of FGM had dropped to 65 percent, according to a 2016 government report. The United Nations Population Fund credits KMG with a big reduction in FGM.

Elders educated first

Beyebo Eresado, a 50-year-old farmer and village elder, says that at first, he did not believe what he heard.

“No, we’ve been doing it a long time,” he said. “It can’t be harmful. It’s our culture. We’re doing it to benefit the girl.”

The procedure can cause hemorrhaging, scarring, infections and psychological trauma.

Continue reading this story on VOA News
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