In recent years AWEPA’s goal to end violence against women has taken form through its programme aiming at abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Worldwide between 100 and 140 million women and girls live with the results of FGM. In Africa there are around 90 million girls from the age of nine years old who are victims of FGM. The estimation is that per year three million African girls run the risk of being circumcised. Once the operation has taken place it cannot be reversed and is one of the worst travesties of human rights taking place in the world today.
The purpose of AWEPA’s FGM/C programme is to enhance the capacity of African Parliaments to exercise their oversight, representative and legislative functions with regard to the practices of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, with a focus on the one hand on FGM/C legislation and the monitoring of its implementation, and on the other hand on the need for a community-based approach. Currently, AWEPA is implementing activities on the issue of FGM/C in three West-African countries: Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.
Another aspect of violence against women AWEPA champions is a campaign to end child marriage. The Girls Not Brides (GNB) Campaign has a mission to end this harmful traditional practice. Every year approximately 10 million young girls, under age 18, are forced into marriage worldwide. One in seven of these girls are married under 15 years of age and others are as young as eight or nine. This issue not only concerns the physical or emotional aspect of the inability of these young girls to become wives and mothers but the life-threatening risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and child birth, along with the possibilities of HIV/AIDS infections and domestic violence.
Initiated by the Elders and AWEPA’s Eminent Advisory Board Honorary Chair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of over 180 organisations that work together to end child marriage. AWEPA supports the mission of Girls Not Brides who’s aim is to give a voice to girls who are at the risk of child marriage, to defend their rights to proper health support and education, and to provide them with the opportunities to fulfil their true potential without endangering their lives. In addition, the GNB Campaign aims to support victims of child marriage by increasing awareness of the cause and to mobilise support and resources to end it. For more information about the Girls Not Brides Campaign click here.
This 25th of November we call upon all of our Sections, Members and partner organisations to pay attention to violence against women.