Dear Esteemed Social Workers in Africa,
As we commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on February 6, 2024, I extend heartfelt greetings to each one of you. This day stands as a reminder of our collective commitment to eradicate the deeply entrenched practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) from our communities.
Our theme this year, ‘Her Voice. Her Future. Investing in FGM Survivor-Led Movements,’ underscores the importance of amplifying the voices of those affected by FGM. It is a call to action for us to empower survivors and support their leadership in bringing about lasting change.
In recognizing the severity of FGM across the African continent, according to UNICEF and WHO reports, countries such as Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Gambia bear the brunt of this harmful practice. Our responsibilities as social workers are paramount, and it is incumbent upon us to engage in open dialogues, facilitate education, and advocate for policies that protect the human rights and well-being of women and girls in these heavily affected regions.
IFSW stands unwaveringly for human rights, and we, as social workers, must champion this cause. FGM is a clear violation of the fundamental human rights of women and girls. Together, we can be instrumental in shaping societies where FGM has no place. I urge each one of you to actively participate in initiatives that elevate survivor voices, collaborate with like-minded organizations, and continue the crucial work of building awareness. By doing so, we contribute to a future where the rights, dignity, and futures of every woman and girl, especially in heavily affected regions like ours, are safeguarded.
Let us, as social workers in Africa, stand united in our determination to end FGM. Through our concerted efforts, we can create a world where every individual is free to live without fear, and where the practice of Female Genital Mutilation becomes a thing of the past.
Thank you for your unwavering dedication to this cause.
Noel Muridzo, IFSW Africa President
Oluwatoni Adeleke, IFSW Africa Vice President