Every eleven seconds, somewhere in the world a girl is subjected to female genital mutilation. In Togo, this brutal practice is now ending. A German NGO has contributed to changing public opinion.
Every year some two million girls around the world become victims of female genital mutilation (FGM). It is an extremely painful experience. Knives are used to remove their external sexual organs, either partially or completely. This frequently leads to painful inflammation - some girls bleed to death.Those who survive suffer pain for the rest of their lives, both physical and mental. The battle to end this brutal tradition which is widespread in Africa, Asia and parts of Latin America is long and complicated. NGOs estimate that between 130 and 150 million of the world's female population have been subjected to FGM.
Exact figures are hard to come by as it remains a taboo subject in many countries. But now the opponents of this tradition are celebrating a major success. This Thursday (29.11.12) marked the official end of FGM in Togo. A public announcement to this effect was due to be made to an audience of prominent guests by traditional FGM practitioners in the West African nation's second-largest city Sokode. This young girl waits for the physical wounds to heal This is the culmination of years of work by Togolese activists and the German NGO "(I)ntact."
The organization was founded in 1996 by Christa Müller, the wife of the then premier of the German state of Saarland. Since 2006 it has received support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.