EAC Heads of State yet to assent to FGM Bill 2016

Arusha, TANZANIA, 06 DECEMBER 2018 (F2A) – A law enacted by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) needs to be assented to by EAC Heads of States in order to strengthen the region’s efforts in curbing Female Genital Mutilation and its effects.

The East Africa Community (EAC) Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Bill was enacted in 2016 because it has had been observed that the outlawed FGM is practiced by communities living across borders of member states and therefore requires the cooperation and collaboration of the six countries in order to effectively implement the law and eliminate the practice.

Speaking in Arusha, Tanzania, during a workshop to reinforce efforts to end cross-border Female Genital Mutilation in EAC region, the EAC Principal Gender and Community Development Officer, Ms Generose Minani, said the regional body is additionally developing an online database as part of its mechanisms to enhance reporting, data collection and access to information concerning FGM.

The workshop hosted by the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Tanzania and to the EAC, together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) brought together public officials, regional stakeholders, CSOs and NGOS in the EAC region, academicians, development partners and traditional and religious leaders. Among the FBOs that Faith to Action Network mobilized to attend and contribute in the discussions were Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), Dini ya Roho Mafuta Pole (Kenya) and Oldonyosambu Theological Seminary (Tanzania). Also present were senior cultural leaders of the Maasai Community, Umoja wa Machifu, from Tanzania.

Participants at the workshop held detailed discussions on regional, national and sub-national promising interventions, good practices and explored opportunities on ending cross-border FGM. Workshop participants resolved to use their institutional and individual influences to push decision makers and Heads of State into assenting to the EAC Prohibition of FGM Bill (2016).

Rev. Ezekiel Megiroo, Principal of Oldonyosambu Theological Seminary, said formation institutions for clergy needed support from stakeholders to develop learning content that incorporates FGM, teenage pregnancy, early marriage and other contemporary issues in their training programs.

In the same workshop the Governments of Tanzania and Kenya were praised for their efforts to address cross-border FGM in their respective national legislation. The Charge d’Affaires at the Delegation of the EU to Tanzania, Mr Charlie Stuart, said it is time for the region to build on this national legislation and harmonise laws across member states in order to be effective. Mr Stuart also praised actions by civil society through ongoing campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism and #RightByHer. Faith to Action Network handed copies of the State of African Women Report to Mr Stuart, Ms Minani and other dignitaries attending the workshop.

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