On this International Zero Tolerance Day against FGM, we speak to the one persistent activist Alimatu Dimonekene, who is forever burdened by the fight to end harmful practice against women and girls all over the world against all odds.
1. How does FGM affect the lives of those who undergo it?
FGM affects women and girls differently. From long term complications like death to short term complications like severe bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, infertility to terrible mental anxious.
2. Talk to me a little bit about ProjectACEi?
The ProjectACEi, is non-profit group stands against female genital mutilation and harmful practices against women and girls. ProjectACEi is a group of African and European women and men that fight for the abolition of FGM. Child and Early Marriage, Forced Marriage. We also work closely with Governments, International Organizations, National Health Services (NHS), NSPCC, Home Office, Faith Leaders and many statutory agencies to promote the elimination of FGM and violence against women.
3. Why is it important for Governments to commit to act in eliminating violence and harmful practices against women?
It is important for governments to commit in implementing laws, policies to help tackle FGM and all other forms of violence against women and girls. Help introduce measures that will support the work of grassroots in supporting women and girls affected by FGM. Governments must also pledge to improve access to justice for vulnerable women, survivors of domestic violence, by eliminating many of the obstacles women and girls encounter.
4. How important is it to engage the communities, especially the informal decision making structures in tackling FGM?
It is vital to engage with communities in every step of the addressing FGM. As members of the very FGM affected communities are the best access to reaching those who are likely to promote FGM. The overarching aim of any agencies working with communities must ensure the safety of girls and women who are at risk of FGM.
5. Talk to me a little bit about Not In My Name Campaign?
The Not In My Name Campaign is an anti-FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) campaign demanding an end to FGM in Sierra Leone. Not In My Name is a Sierra Leonean coalition of leading national and international activists, who are calling for the rights of all women and girls in Sierra Leone to be protected and promoted - including the immediate enactment and enforcement of a ban on FGM.
6. What is the role of men and boys in the fight to end FGM?
The practice of FGM is centered around patriarchal and misogynistic systems for millennial. Men and boy’s role is fundamental. It will be almost impossible to end if they are not part of the discussions. In some communities, the men are the solution. Crucial that the voices of men and boys are included as they are often the leaders within the communities.
7. What is the relation between FGM and Child Marriage?
In most communities FGM is synonymous with Child Marriage. As FGM in many instances is carried out on women and girls to make they available for marriage. As it is now proven that most girls are subjected to FGM.
8. How can anyone contribute towards ending harmful practices like FGM and Child marriage whether it affects them directly or not?
Well there is now an active movement around the world. We as a survivor led group ProjectACEi welcome the support from donor organizations looking to support small groups. Engage through social media #EndFGM and follow survivors leading the campaign.