Waging War Against FGM

Kadi raises awareness about the
dangerous practice of FGM. 

Not Part of the Dream

When she was a girl, Kadi dreamed of being married and having a family. She never equated marriage with suffering, or thought that she would find married life too hard to bear. Least of all, she never dreamed that it would threaten her life.

Kadi, 43, a housewife, lives in the village of Tingolé in Mali. Before she was married, as a young girl, she underwent the traditional practice of excision, or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), to prepare her for her new life.

“They destroyed my body through this abominable practice,” she says. Her bitterness stems from her difficulties in childbirth. For each of her three children, she suffered abdominal bleeding followed by days of paralysis that came close to taking her life.

Fighting FGM

Feeling relief for surviving the birth of her children, Kadi now wages war on the traditional practice and the ideas that almost took her life and left her children motherless.

In the rural community of Tingolé, where roughly 98% of all girls undergo FGM, this brave woman has become a champion in the fight against the practice. In three years she has been able to enlist the help of her sisters, starting five feminist associations with 80 members across her village and the neighboring hamlets in order to raise awareness of the dangers of female genital mutilation.

The president of these associations, and the oldest member, is emphatic on the dangers of mutilation which can easily, according to what she says, lead to the marginalization of women. Kadi and her comrades, encouraged by positive results and feedback, are more and more active in organizing discussion groups, viewing education films and couples counseling. They are helped by Plan staff and a local NGO, called Development Research and Support team or “ERAD”, who work together to raise awareness and change behavior through education to stop FGM.

“ERAD” supports Kadi in her efforts, and finds similar champions in other villages. Despite the strong conservative nature of the people of Tingolé, Mr. Kanté, a development worker in the village, believes in a victory in the fight against female genital mutilation lies in the not too distant future.

He bases his belief on two facts: that for two years now, no girl has been subjected to FGM in the village and, best of all, the determination of a brave woman named Kadi who has brought together the understanding and togetherness of the entire community.

To learn more about this practice, please visit our FGM page.