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FGM Cutter Lays down the Knife on National TV : Jigjiga, Ethiopia

Abdihakin Abdullahi Gamadiid, a journalist working for Universal TV based in Jijiga Office interviews a mother Fardawsa who has laid down the knife after receiving awareness from GMC-trained journalists in the Somali regional state of Ethiopia.

Universal Somali TV reaches an estimation of 12 million viewers.

Fardawsa’s life as a FGM cutter:

After the civil war broke out in Somalia, Fardawsa immigrated to the Somali region in Ethiopia where she continued doing her practice on FGM where she arrived in a region where such practices was higly demamding. Fardawsa used to perform different types of FGM.

She was the breadwinner of her family and used payments from this practice to sustain the livelihood of her family.

“ During my earlier years, I was happy that the FGM practice was booming and highly demanding making for me a potential market for this practice. Today I regret ever performing such a damaging practice”

Fardowsa, Mother and Ex-FGM cutter

Since Fardowsa stopped the FGM practice, her family now supports her when it comes to necessary stuff like food and shelter and no longer depend on earnings or payments obtained from FGM.

Did Fardowsa experience deaths of girls due to FGM?

No she didn’t. However she did experienced girls with severe bleeding during her practice. She did also mention that a girl died on the hands of a friends that also used to perform FGM in Afgoye, Somalia, the outskirts of Mogadishu where Fardawsa used to live.

“Mothers used to tell me to make the FGM procedure private without informing anyone outside the victim’s mother.”

Fardowsa, Mother and Ex-FGM cutter

What was it like for Fardawsa to work as an FGM cutter?

Fardawsa told us doing FGM was emotionally and physically challenging. She was afraid that a girl may loose her life while she was in the middle of the procedure, the fear of that chances of having uncontrollable bleedings may occur was also present and had impact of the performer emotionally.

Which media campaign was it that made her make this change her mind about performing FGM?

Fardawsa attended multiple trainings on FGM done by GMC and HorncableTV where she watched a documentary on FGM where survivors told their stories on how FGM affected their daily routine and the impact the FGM had in their life when it comes to marriage and giving birth.Fardawsa learned the impact was not just the short term effects but long term too.

The media campaigns led Fardawsa (former FGM cutter) to indefinitely suspend the FGM practice. FGM Cutter lays down her knife on National TV : Jigjiga, Ethiopia Click To Tweet

How did you meet Fardawsa?

Finding Fardowsa was not easy. We reached out to her after we traced her in her residence here in Jigjiga.

Fardawsa is now a proud member of the media campaign against the FGM and does oral briefings on FGM whenever she feel necessary.

Ruth Harley

Ruth Harley is working with GMC as a Website News Editor, compiling stories written by End FGM campaigners working with the Global Media Campaign to End FGM across Africa. Alongside this work, she is running The Women’s Vinyl Project which empowers women and girls through singing and music and is helping to end FGM.