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African aid group wins Hilton prize

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:20 am
by Librarian
Tostan, a Senegal-based aid group that started a grass-roots campaign to abolish female circumcision in West Africa, has been awarded the $1.5 million Hilton humanitarian prize.

The Hilton Prize, whose past winners include the Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee, is the world's largest humanitarian award.

The group, which has 370 almost all African staff, was founded in 1991 by Molly Melching, an American who has lived in Senegal for 32 years.

It uses traditional song and dance to educate some of the poorest villagers in Senegal and neighbouring countries about development and human rights.


Tostan has encouraged thousands of women to speak out against female genital cutting, a taboo subject in Muslim communities of West Africa.
More here:
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ ... D11C91.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6943113.stm

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:23 am
by Mahala
I have several things to say.
One- Welcome back! Long time no see. :)
Two-I never knew that that was going on, or that it was even possible.
Three- Good for them! It's always nice to hear people making differences.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:52 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
I never knew that that was going on, or that it was even possible.
Horrid, evil, terrible mutilation. I can understand mutilation in culture, I really can, if it is done willingly. Mutilating children with no pain killers and then starving them until they heal, forcing them to do this, is disgusting.

And that is my rant.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 6:15 pm
by Willow
I am glad it is Senegal based, groups from the outside have little effect on traditional practises like that.

I read apaper a while ago on female genital mutilation (FGM). The paper discussed that it is mostly mothers who force their children to undergo the procedure claiming that men will not marry them if they don't. However there has been almost no research on the role of men int he procedure, especially to see whether or not they actually care. Some argued that it is so taboo between the sexes in some places that some men don't even know the difference between and FGM vagina and a regular one until they get married.

Thanks for the link Lib and I also say welcome back!

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:13 pm
by Jescissa
Willow wrote:Some argued that it is so taboo between the sexes in some places that some men don't even know the difference between and FGM vagina and a regular one until they get married.
Exactly! If a man doesn't know what one looks like until he's got married, then he will hardly refuse marriage to a girl who hasn't been 'circumcised'.

I've read into FGM a little and I find the concept both fascinating and horrible. (Just so you know, I find circumcision of infant boys as unethical as FGM). I think that if a woman wanted to go down that route, she should make the decision as a mature woman knowing all the implications, not pushed into it by anxious mothers and grandmothers.

On the other hand, an intimate survey of Sudanese women who have been infibulated (the most extreme form of FGM) revealed that despite the loss of the outer clitoris, these women have still enjoyed sex and have experienced orgasm with their husbands. So, if sexual function and enjoyment still exists, perhaps FGM hasn't affected these women for the worse?

I still think that these groups are correct in trying to educate the local people about the effects and at least this way women and girls will have all the information needed to make the right decision for them.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:51 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
So, if sexual function and enjoyment still exists, perhaps FGM hasn't affected these women for the worse?
Regardless of this, FGM still leads to horrible menstrual complications, frequent infections, etc. Not to mention before they can be "deflowered" they have to be CUT FLIPPING OPEN!!! and the birthing process is even difficult because of the HISTORY of the problems that have occured due to FGM.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:30 pm
by Mahala
*Hem* Can I just sorta ask what female circumcision is? :oops:

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:34 am
by Ragnar
Any of you Ladies like to do this? I think by P.M please.