POSTED May 30, 2019
A rally to end child marriage and FGM draws attention
Find out how CCFC is working in Burkina Faso to end violence against children
By Patrice Zongo, communications manager, Burkina Faso
Imagine growing up in a town where child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM or female circumcision) is common. That’s the case in areas of Burkina Faso where villagers follow traditional customs and beliefs.
In fact, the Eastern region, where we have sponsored children, has the second-highest rate of child marriages in the country with 67.3 percent — just behind the Sahel region with 87.1 percent, according to Burkina Faso government stats.
Similar government stats estimate 11.3 percent of girls, up to the age of 14, have been circumcised in the African nation.
Child marriage and FGM affect a girl’s dignity as well as her physical and moral integrity, often keeping her out of school and jeopardizing her health and future.
But, thankfully many are ready for change. In fact, Mohamad Michara, secretary general of the region, chaired a gathering in Fada N’Gourma where some 1,000 people committed to ending the harmful practices.
“We, traditional authorities of the Eastern region, publicly declare at this lectern we’ll do our best to end child marriage and female genital mutilation,” said Naba Debado, a representative of the traditional chiefs in the Eastern Region.
Representatives for children, religious authorities, women, men and other stakeholders also pledged to be part of the fight.
Christelle Kalhoulé, CCFC’s country director, invited those gathered to commit to change. “Why do these practices still prosper when we know their consequences to our children?,” she asked. “And, what should everyone do to find a sustainable solution?” She left the questions unanswered, emphasizing how awareness is the first step toward lasting change.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) has also been working with communities to end these forms of violence against children with financial support from UNICEF.
Through awareness-raising campaigns, such as training, peer meetings, workshops and more, community members in 250 villages in Burkina Faso have discussed the negative impact the practices have on their children. The goal is to work together for positive change.
Stay tuned for more stories on how CCFC is helping end child marriage and female genital mutilation.
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