Government of Senegal launches major national action plan to seize on momentum created by local communities and the NGO Tostan to end the practice by 2015
DAKAR, Senegal, 18 February 2010—Building on a massive grassroots movement for the abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC) which has seen thousands of communities in Senegal join its ranks in recent years, the Government of Senegal will announce on Friday, February 19th the launch of a comprehensive strategy for achieving its goal of nationwide abandonment of FGC by 2015.
The strategy, to be announced at an event attended by Senegalese Prime Minister Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, is largely based on the human rights approach developed by Tostan, an NGO working in Senegal since 1991. Through Tostan’s respectful, cross-cutting model of engagement, over 4,200 communities in Senegal have publicly declared their abandonment of the practice since 1997. A recent UNICEF study confirmed the long-term abandonment of FGC in communities that participated in the Tostan program.
The National Action Plan for FGC Abandonment 2010-2015 will focus on three key components of the Tostan strategy: implementing empowering education programs in national languages, engaging extended social networks through an “organized diffusion” model of communication, and supporting public declarations for the abandonment of FGC.
The Action Plan also stresses the importance of working with populations in the regions where FGC is most commonly practiced: Saint Louis, Matam, Kaolack, Tambacounda, Ziguinchor, and Kolda-regions, which are among the poorest in Senegal.
The launch event will recognize the local community leaders who have led this movement from infancy to its current tipping point. Special recognition will be given to the first community to publicly declare abandonment of FGC in 1997, Malicounda Bambara. The Tostan organization and staff will also be recognized for their dedicated work on this and other development issues over the past 19 years. Khaldiou Sy, Director of Tostan Senegal, will speak at the event.
The launch event comes just days before a massive public declaration of all 256 communities of the Kedougou Region of Senegal, where, on Sunday, February 21, participating communities will declare an end to the practices of FGC and child/forced marriage on a regional level, marking one of the largest such events to-date. The event will be attended by the Minister of the Family and the Country Representative of UNICEF in Senegal.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : February 18, 2010
Contact: Gannon Gillespie