|For centuries in Africa, one of the cruelest practices that have been undertaken on young girls and women has been female genital mutilation.
This is the partial cutting of the external female genitalia. Often performed without anesthetic by practitioners with no knowledge of human anatomy, the practice has often caused death and permanent healthconditions besides severe pain. Despite grave risks, the practitioners of FGM look upon it as an integral part of their cultural and ethnic identity. Opponents however see this practice as cruel and inhumane and detrimental to a woman's health and well being.
In the platform of the 4th world conference on women held in Beijing in 1995, FGM was cited as both a threat to women's reproductive health and a violation of their human rights.
With public campaigns, awareness through public events, movies, music and education in poor rural communities where the practice is prevalent, the prospects for the future eradication of FGM are real.