The only word that can describe the fact that 65 percent of women in Ethiopia age 15-49 are circumcised, i.e. have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM) in their childhood or puberty, a procedure when parts of their intimate area are cut and modified.
According to recent data, the number and prevalence have dropped. According to their mothers, 16% of girls age 0-14 are circumcised. However, the number relies on self-reporting of mothers, and maybe thus underestimated. FGM is illegal in Ethiopia. Therefore, it is possible that the procedure is still ongoing, but happens in more secrecy, behind closed doors and at night. Law enforcement is weak. Only a very few persons have been penalized for performing it. The government of Ethiopia is currently preparing a campaign to end FGM and identified the following key areas to get closer to it: improving availability of data; strengthening coordination; putting in place accountability to enhance enforcement of the existing law; and increasing the budget for the effort to end the practice altogether or decrease it by 10%.
Myths around this dangerous, dreadful procedure cause this harmful tradition to continue. Almost a quarter of women, 24%, believe that the practice is required by their religion, and 18% believe that the practice should continue. More interestingly, men support the procedure less than women. However, missing information and missing dialogue between genders and generations create misunderstandings in expectations and prolong the struggle. ECYDO works with communities, increases awareness about FGM/C, provides an opportunity to talk about the issue and communicate views, challenge views, and removes these myths in order to stop it for good.