Senegal: Beyond Tradition
By Mary Ferreira
Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, or genital cutting is an age-old custom that’s still practiced in many countries. It’s a custom that affects some 140 million women and girls worldwide.
In partnership with the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, a film crew from UNTV traveled to Senegal in West Africa to produce a film documenting efforts made by the Government to ban this practice.
But in a country where dozens of ethnic groups live according to their own traditional values and beliefs we found that even though the ban on FGM is in place, it’s still practiced, especially in the ethnic stronghold of the Pulaar people. A woman, believed to be a “cutter” living in the Pulaar region of Matam, received a jail sentence when caught performing excisions on young girls.
Upon learning of her release, we requested an interview through Tostan, a local non-governmental organization. We attempted to interview her after receiving permission but when we arrived at the home she was nowhere in sight.
Despite this setback, we managed to complete our mission with adequate elements to produce a compelling piece focusing on cultural perspectives, religious points of view and individual regrets. Watch this brief clip.