In east African countries like Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somaliland, infibulation is the most practised type of female genital mutilation. In other African countries, clitoridectomy is performed.
In some of these countries, there are laws that ban FGM. But people go to neighbouring countries where there are no specific laws and get it done.
To stop this practice, it is important to create awareness through education. Children must be taught in schools that FGM is a dangerous and useless practice that violates human rights. Efforts should be made to educate spiritual leaders, practitioners, women, men and girls. There must be a common will to say no to FGM.
Raising awareness on FGM doesn't mean to reject a culture. It only aims at changing the bad things of a specific culture. Since the law itself is not sufficient to eradicate FGM, education is the key.
Art, too, can be a powerful tool in reaching out to illiterate communities. It can convey the message of human rights and abuse in a poignant and effective manner.
Mmaka is a writer and human rights activist based in South Africa.