Wadi just published a brochure about the onmgoing campaign to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Iraqi-Kurdistan a Iraq.
Wadi’s groundbreaking FGM projects began in 2004, providing hard data that Female Genital Mutiliation was being practiced in Northern Iraq and breaking the longstanding idea that FGM was only an African problem. Wadi worked relentlessly to break the social and cultural taboo around talking about FGM publicly. Our team members put themselves at risk by going on TV shows, and radio programs and publicly talking about FGM. In a conservative country women bravely sharing their personal experiences was a real risk to their personal reputation (possibly their safety) in order to get the message out there and change public perception.
Through our FGM projects through the years we have had many different activities, events, and experiences but our vision, goals and values were always the same. To eliminate the practice of FGM , to change the cultural narrative around the body and the the idea of self ownership – ‘my body belongs to me, not my parents, my village or anyone else, my fate is in my hands, and I have the agency to change things’. Change is slow, but possible. Societies don’t change all at once, they change as a result of people choosing to do things differently. Those choices happen after hours, weeks, and sometimes years of discussion, debate, arguments, and they need a chance – in the form of freedom of the press, civil society, freedom to even entertain change.
To go from proving the existence of FGM to having the government pass a law banning it in under 10 years is unheard of. Wadi lobbied on a local and international level to put the spotlight on FGM in Northern Iraq, this was not easy, and many NGOs and agencies working in the field expressed disbelief at the findings. The idea that FGM existed in the Middle East was not readily accepted, infact international bodies such as the UN did not take Wadi’s petition to add Northern Iraq to its list of countries, seriously. As we reflect we also look forward to our vision for the future is one where FGM is banned in all of Iraq and much more is done to end the practice in the rest of the Middle East and Asia.”
More information about the Stop FGM Campaign