United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), has trained over 400 journalists in reporting on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The training was aimed at increasing the capacity of journalists in effective and professional reporting on FGM in Mogadishu and other regions.
With 98 percent of girls undergoing FGM between the ages of five and 11, Somalia has the highest rate of FGM in the world, according to the United Nations.
NUSOJ Secretary General, Omar Faruk Osman, said the training was a big step forward in the fight for social justice.
‘Journalists are society’s watchdog and messengers and they give a voice to their respective communities. These training was deliberately structured to reach journalists across Somalia so as to spread the campaign against FGM’, Osman said.
FGM is prohibited under the Somali Constitution, but the continuing lack of a national law criminalising and punishing all forms of FGM undermines efforts aimed at ending the harmful practice.
On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, 06 February, 2021, UNICEF and UNFPA called on the government of Somalia to commit to ending FGM by passing a law prohibiting the practice.
NUSOJ Organising Secretary, Nima Hassan Abdi, said journalists should lead the charge in form of raising awareness against FGM.
‘FGM is a retrogressive practice that sadly still remains with us even today. Besides maiming women, it is also stunting their potential to play a role in the transformation of their society’, Abdi said
‘Journalists should therefore be on the frontlines of raising awareness about it and its negative impacts’.
Photo source: Kim Nowacki