Approximately 30000 peoples live in the Manantali region, among which more than half are women. The dominant ethnic group in the region are the Malinké. The population’s main activities are agriculture and cattle breeding.
The life in the region significantly changed when a dam was built in the 80s. It’s construction was intended to provide electricity to the region, to make the Senegal-river navigable from Saint-Louis (Senegal) to Kayes (Mali) and to create irrigated areas. The consequent forced resettlement of the population of the area created several problems as shortage of land, limitation of cropland per person, a decline in soil fertility and hence a crop loss as well as a general pauperisation of the rural population and of women in particular.
National campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation reached the bigger cities but the Mantali-region stayed uninformed. Although a draft law against female circumcision is at hand at the national assembly of Mali, the government first wants to act against the practice through awareness raising campaigns.
The aim of the project is to put an end to the practice of circumcision which would benefit approx. 6000 girls. This aim is to be achieved by convincing local opinion leaders and women groups including circumcisers of the damages caused by circumcision as well as by raising awareness of the whole community. Circumcisers are to be brought to abandon the practice and receive a new professional training. Offering medical care for women, will help our anti-circumcision campaign gain their trust and at the same time help to show the damages already caused by circumcision.
- Comprehensive information and education of the whole population about the severe effects of female circumcision
- Convincing the population to protect the physical integrity of girls in order to avoid injuries, prevent suffering and thereby counteract further pauperisation.
- Sanction all future attempts to practice circumcision.
- Transform traditional rites and in particular passage rites.
- Medical care for girls and women who have undergone circumcision.
The target group of the project is the population of 36 villages in the Manantali region. In this traditionally conservative area, girls from the age of 3 up to 12 years old are circumcised through removal of the clitoris. 1% of these girls bleed to death or die in the aftermath of infections. Often women suffer lifelong pains, as well as problems during child birth, chronic infections and mental diseases.
2006 Dr. H. Deserno of the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt a. M. wrote an essay for Materra dealing with the question of how projects fighting to put an end to female genital mutilation come to exist and how they could be combined with a design study. The document is available here (in German).
Instruments to reach the project goals:
- Contact with political- and opinion leaders in the villages
- Sensitisation programs with women groups of ca 30 villages within a radius of 60 km
- Half-hour long radio programs in collaboration with two local radio stations
- Plays with local actors
- Sensitisation of circumcisers and blacksmith women
- Initiation of income generating activities for ex-circumcisers
- Official meeting with village chiefs, women groups and ex-circumcisers
- Medical care for secondary complications
Project partner in Mali
The project was born out of the initiative of women groups from Manantali region who then planned the projects together with MUSO JIRIWA (see below). All of these women have undergone circumcision themselves and are hence strongly motivated to make the project a success.
MUSO JIRIWA (Aufblühen der Frauen)
BP: 7 Manantali Mali
The organisation MUSO JIRIWA exists since 1998 and is a registered NGO. The organisations goal is to empower rural women legally and economically. Altogether 10 peoples work within MUSO JIRIWA.
The president is Dr. Hawa Sow Keita, veterinary surgeon from Bamako. Secretary is Mr. Moussa Keita, technician from Manantali.
MUSO JIRIWA already launched an awareness raising campaign on women’s rights together with the women groups from the project area.
Die Präsidentin ist Frau Dr. Hawa Sow Keita, Tierärztin, Bamako, Sekretär ist Herr Moussa Keita (Techniker), Manantali.
MUSO JIRIWA hat bereits zusammen mit den Frauengruppen im Projektgebiet eine Aufklärungskampagne über Frauenrechte betrieben.
Evaluation of the FGM program in Mali (in German)
Report about the evaluation of the program against female genital mutilation in Mantanali (in German)
Evaluation DED (in German)