Bangr Nooma, Burkina Faso – Protection against female genital mutilation (FGM)

Rakieta Poyga, founder of the Association Bangr Nooma Photo: © Alexander GonschiorRakieta Poyga, founder of the Association Bangr Nooma. Photo: © Alexander Gonschior

Women need to be empowered in every respect and especially against traditional, harmful practices, so that they gain more self-confidence and can decide independently. This is the only way we can defeat the female genital mutilation one day. That is what we stand up for
Rakieta Poyga
 

Project area: three provinces in the Mossi kingdom: Kadiogo, Sanmetenga, and Nahouri, as well as districts of the capital Ouagadougou and surrounding villages, Burkina Faso

Supported by TDF since: 1998

Target group: village leaders, religious authorities, teachers, former circumcisers, girls and women affected or threatened by FGM

Background:

  • According to UNICEF, in Burkina Faso in 2013, more than 76% of girls and women were affected by FGM.
  • Many of them suffer lifelong pain due to the formation of fistulas, adhesions or infections. During pregnancy, this can lead to life-threatening complications. Often girls bleed to death during the procedure.
  • In Burkina Faso, FGM is forbidden by law since 1996 but is still practiced, increasingly on very young girls. FGM is often seen as a prerequisite for marriage.
  • Village and religious leaders as well as the circumcisers promoting the practice have a high standing in society.

Project activities:

Awareness campaigns:

For 15 years, Association Bangr Nooma (meaning “There is nothing better than knowledge”) has been working to end FGM. 300 members and staff members conduct broad sensitization and information campaigns over a period of several years, in order to reach out to a whole district or village.

Some approaches and campaign activities:

  • Training of staff members for the campaign work (Animateur/Animatrice), who speak about the tabooed issue of FGM and inform about the fatal consequences.
  • Training of multiplicators (former circumcisers, religious leaders, the police, traditional midwifes, …) for the follow-up process of the campaigns.  
  • Installation of follow-up committees of villagers to further promote the rejection of FGM.
  • Monitoring visits after the campaign to assure its sustainability.

Medical emergency interventions:

Furthermore, the Association Bangr Nooma medically supports girls and women that suffer from the painful consequences of FGM. The association is connected to Prof. Dr. Akotionga, who offers emergency operations to those experiencing pain after being mutilated. ABN serves as a point of contact between the doctor and the women and also accompanies them to the medical interventions.

Centre for protection against violence (CAECF):

The centre for protection against violence offers support, as well as psychological and legal assistance to girls and women that are affected by any kind of violence. Discussion groups, as well as house visits give the women the opportunity to exchange their personal experiences regarding FGM, but also talk about problems and concerns in their daily lifes.

Impact:

So far, the organisation has reached over one million people in Burkina Faso. Since the foundation of Association Bangr Nooma (ABN), more than 33.000 girls have been saved from genital mutilation.

  • FGM is no longer a taboo topic; society is generally more aware of the consequences of FGM.
  • Committees of villagers against FGM exist in over 900 villages.
  • About 400 circumcisers and their assistants as well as women's groups have received small loans, the majority of them have built up a new existence. About 180 of them are now actively fighting FGM together with ABN.
  • The CAECF violence prevention center provides emergency shelter and counselling for around 15 girls and women every month.
  • Through educational work in schools, more than 40 school committees have already been set up to address the issue of protection of girls from violence at school.
  • In more than 35 radio broadcasts, the issue of violence against women was discussed by the CAECF staff members with different emphases, often including audience participation.
  • More and more village chiefs, traditional and religious leaders as well as the general population have been successfully convinced to firmly say "No to FGM".
  • Thanks to targeted lobbying work by Burkinabe women's organizations (including ABN) and in cooperation with the Ministry of Women's Affairs, a law to protect girls and women against violence was passed for the first time in September 2015. A milestone for women's rights in Burkina Faso!

 

Project leader: Rakieta Poyga

Contacts: Voluntary project coordinator Justyna Grund (burkina-faso@frauenrechte.de)
or TERRE DES FEMMES – International Cooperation (iz@frauenrechte.de)

Your support is needed for:

  • further sensitization and information campaigns.
  • workshops for the animators of ABN, the circumcisers, teachers and activists of the village committees.
  • the purchase of (motor)bikes for the animators as well as their remuneration.
  • presentations by theatre and musical groups as support to the campaigns.
  • the lending of micro loans to former circumcisers.
  • the financing of hospital stays.

Support Association Bangr Nooma with a one-time donation or contribute regularly and become a sponsor!

You can also donate to the following account, using the keyword “Burkina Faso” as a reference for your payment:

TERRE DES FEMMES e.V.
EthikBank
BIC GENODEF1ETK
IBAN DE35 8309 4495 0103 1160 00