Afar Region strengthening efforts to abandon child marriage and FGM

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The UNFPA supported programme on the integrated abandonment of child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Afar Region was launched in the Abala District on 3 March 2016. The programme is funded with finances secured from the United Nations Association in Sweden.

The programme primarily focuses on interventions that aim at creating community safe space for adolescent girls, supporting school level interventions, promoting girls’ education and facilitating provision of sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls.

During the launching event religious and clan leaders thoroughly discussed on the proposed activities of the programme to be started and the way forward to bring tangible and sustained social change in ending the practices of FGM and child marriage. The programme will be undertaken in the 13 localities of the Abala District coordinated by the district’s Women, Children and Youth Affairs Office.

“We reiterate our commitment to stop FGM and express our gratitude to those who helped us on this, but want the activities to focus on the women who are still conducting the practice secretly” Haji Mohammed Dawa, Leader of the Abala District Religious Council, said on the occasion.

The practices of child marriage and FGM remain very high in the Afar Region despite progresses made in recent years. UNFPA has been supporting an intervention of similar kind in the Afambo District for the past three years with funding from the UN Association in Sweden.

Government officials, religious and clan leaders, and representatives of communities from the localities of the Abala District attended the launching ceremony.