Female genital mutilation - Forty-five Malian villages have given up female genital mutilation (FGM) under a convention signed on Friday in Bamako by the leaders of these villages and the Malian Minister for the Promotion of Family, Women and Children.
These are areas where Plan-Mali, an NGO, and the villages have already signed a similar convention.
In the last few years, the NGO has initiated several advocacy, consciousness-raising and education in these villages on the harmful effects of FGM.
According to Mrs Fadima Alainchar, managing director of Plan-Mali, a branch of Plan International, since the 1990s, they have focused on the fight against FGM, which is a violation of the rights and dignity of women and girls.
In Mali, the rate of female circumcision of about 80 per cent remains high despite education carried out by the authorities and civil society.
FGM is practised mainly in some parts of Africa, Middle East, western and southern Asia and immigrant populations in some developed countries.
Supporters of the dehmanising practice say it is an important part of the culture and religion of the people, but medical research sees it as potentially life-threatening and an extreme form of oppression of women.
FGM involves the removal of the tip of the clitoris; total removal of the clitoris and surrounding labia; or the removal of the clitoris and labia and the sewing up of the vagina, leaving only a small opening for urine and menstrual blood – a process known as infibulation.
Opponents state that it involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.
Researchers say immediate complications can include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue.
Long-term consequences can include recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths and the need for later surgeries.