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Sebei Anti-FGM Grassroot campaign 2021

The main objective of the campaign was to mitigate the rising cases and life threatening effects of Female Genital mutilation in Sebei region that had escalated due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Sebei region had for the past years been known as the pivotal center for the harmful traditional practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Uganda. According to Sebei Region police, the pandemic greatly contributed to an increase in the number of FGM cases in the region, in 2018 and 2019,the annually reported cases were 300.

Between the first and the second lockdown the cases had doubled, Covid-19 gave an opportunity to some perpetrators to re-practice the act. Other contributing factors included idle communities, school closures that exposed young female learners, police attention shifted from enforcing the anti-FGM Law to enforcing COVID-19 guidelines, mutilators moving door to door convincing mothers of prolonged holiday makers to give their children in to be cut in preparation for marriage and the shrinked economic alternatives that made women surgeons rely on the FGM practice as the only remaining source of income.

The escalating FGM problem required the development of context specific initiatives and local strategies that ranged from creating synergies and alliance building with local community leaders , creating a well trained chain of young female advocates and journalists who were conversant with the region’s local languages coupled with elevated personal abilities for effective, quick and responsive action in the fight against the vice. These were categorised into two.

First category were Female University students from Sebei region who were home due to the country wide schools and institutions lockdown. They were selected to be the champions of the Sebei Anti-FGM Grassroot Campaign’ because they have the education and knowledge about human rights violation and life threatening effects of FGM and are also well conversant with the local language. Some of these students had been victims of this while others had over come the stereotypical cultural beliefs and social norms that upheld the vice.
These students were trained and empowered with Anti-FGM knowledge and communication skills to reach out to key policy makers, community and religious leaders, women groups and the general public through conducting outreach campaigns and talk-shows on the mapped community radios in the region.

Second category shall be the Journalists ,a team of mapped Sebei journalists within the region will be trained and equipped with all the necessary tools and knowledge on how to report on FGM .Previously FGM was a taboo subject and not spoken about publicly in the region however with a few media personalities coming up to speak about the vice, the silence has been weakened and locals are now compelled to listen and slowly by slowly understand that the vice is not harmful.
The team of journalists created programs featuring key policy makers and medical doctors who used diagrams and visual aids to show people the damage mutilation could cause. They also invited survivors of the practice to talk on TV about their experiences and the health problems they experienced that stemmed from FGM.

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