Many of our readers and supporters have inquired about how we came to observe a day against FGM. Here is a brief history of this much needed observance.
On February 6, 2003, Stella Obasanjo, the former First Lady of Nigeria and then spokesperson for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, made the official declaration on “Zero Tolerance to FGM” in Africa during a conference organized by the Inter-African Committee (IAC), founded by Dr. Morissanda Kouyate. Dr. Kouyate was instrumental in recommending to the United Nations that the day be set aside to observe the world’s intolerance of the practice of FGM. The U.N. Sub-Commission on Human Rights adopted the day as an international awareness day.
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) this year is Saturday, February 6th. As an effort to make the world aware of female genital mutilation and to promote its eradication, in December of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution. The resolution called on all member states, civil society and all stakeholders to observe February 6th as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The U.N. requested that the day be used to enhance awareness-raising campaigns and to take concrete action against female genital mutilation.
In 2014, 17-year-old student, Fahma Mohamed created an online petition with Change.org on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. Fahma asked the United Kingdom’s Minister of Education at the time to write to the leaders of all primary and secondary schools in the U.K. and encourage them to be alert to the dangers of FGM. The petition attained more than 230,000 supporters and was one of the fastest growing U.K. petitions on Change.org. Fahma Mohamed got her wish, and the U.K. Education Minister did not only write to the schools, but to all Head Teachers in England as well.
We ask you to save the February 6th date on your calendar. We will update you with details of an event in our area in observance of the day.