Global Woman’s President and Founder, Angela Peabody was one of the presenters in the Isuroon’s “Safe Mothers, Safe Newborns” conference in Minneapolis last Thursday. The conference was Isuroon’s inaugural global conference to discuss the parameters of maternal and child health in Minnesota, Somalia and other parts of the world.
Isuroon is an organization founded by the Executive Director, Mrs. Fartun Weli, an immigrant from Somalia. Weli, who is also a member of Minnesota Peace Initiative and Minnesota Council for Non-profits envisioned a world in which Somali women are empowered and their health disparities are eliminated. She also envisions Minnesota becoming the model U.S. state for helping rebuild the lives of Somali women everywhere they reside, including the women in Somalia. The mission of Isuroon is to build Somali women’s self-sufficiency so that they can lead healthier and more productive lives in Minnesota, nationally and in Somalia.
The conference displayed a wide range of esteemed speakers, internationally, nationally and locally. The speakers’ roster comprised of elected officials, non-profit leaders, physicians and educators. Minnesota Congressman, Keith Ellison and Minnesota Senator, Sandra Pappas were among the many speakers of the day. Other speakers included Dr. Achu Lordfred from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Kolawole Okuyemi of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Eric Schwartz the Dean of the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Tawara Goode of Georgetown University and Abdirizak Farah of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Peabody’s presentation focused on the truth about female genital cutting. She told the audience what her organization has done in the campaign to end the practice of FGM/C. The President of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation urged the men to join in the conversation about what is known to be a forbidden topic to discuss. She encouraged the survivors of FGM/C to speak out and share their stories and help to educate the American public about this practice. Peabody also pointed out that female genital cutting is one of the reasons for maternal and infant mortalities. She reminded them that the practice of FGM in the U.S. is illegal, and it carries a minimum of 5-year imprisonment. She called for collaborations among organizations and for exchange programs across oceans. In conclusion, Peabody said she has committed the rest of her life to her work against FGM, and called for much more coverage from the U.S. media.
This column of “Did You Know…” is intended to help inform and educate our readers on the practice of FGM.
Historically, Egypt has always been known as the ‘cradle of civilization’. However this country, located in the northeastern part of Africa is also the ‘cradle of female genital mutilation’.
The practice of female genital mutilation/cutting originated more than five centuries ago in Egypt during the Pharaoh times. Although some people believe that Islam and FGM are related, it is a fact that female genital mutilation has nothing to do with religion. An Islamic scholar recently reported that the practice of FGM is forbidden by Islam.
In 2007 the practice of FGM was banned in Egypt, the first African nation to outlaw the practice. Yet, a recent report revealed that a wave of FGM shops have sprouted up in parts of Egypt, with the practice as prevalent as before it was banned. Despite the illegality, the practice in this country has skyrocketed; and families can now have their little girls cut for less than the equivalent of ten U.S. Dollars ($10.00). In recent months, Egypt has been referred to as the FGM capital of the world.
Last year, a 13-year old girl died in Egypt after she had undergone FGM. Her death spurred controversy worldwide after her father and the excisor were both arrested and prosecuted in Egypt. This latest release out of Egypt only confirms that making the practice of FGM illegal in any country is not enough. The excisors are daring and defiant of the law; actual enforcement of the law is paramount and not just making it an article in the law books.
Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation launched a special campaign petition on Change.org in August of this year to the U.S. Department of Education. The organization which advocates on behalf of women and girls against female genital mutilation has set a goal to collect at least 200,000 signatures; this is in its plight to get the U.S. Department of Education to include at least one lesson in its curriculum on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the elementary and middle schools.
The organization believes that educating the children from an early age, most especially the popular age range of seven through thirteen about the practice of FGM is crucial. The sooner the children are aware of the practice, the more likely thousands of girls in the U.S. can be spared from undergoing female genital mutilation. We need your signature to meet our goal.
To sign the petition, please click the link below and watch the video:
Join the Campaign and Sign Our Petition
By signing this petition, you are making your voice heard. You are joining the thousands of concerned citizens, not only of the United States but of the world to say that the practice of female genital mutilation must be stopped. You are saying that there is no longer a place in the world for atrocities and violence against woman. It is a tradition that is older than five centuries but it is tradition that plays no positive role in a girl’s life; instead it can hinder her ability to bear children, and produces a lifetime of both physical and psychological pain.
If you have questions or comments about the campaign prior to signing the petition, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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