Ivory Coast: the statement of imams, religious and traditional leaders against Female Genital Mutilation

Date 21.04.2021

Even though the Ivorian constitution forbids the practice, in Ivory Coast two women out of five are still victims of female genital mutilations, and in the North and West regions of the country this phenomenon affects up to 75% of women.

It is in this area that AVSI has been working in the last two years to sensitize the communities and to support the local leaders and organizations thanks to the funds by the European Union and the Ivorian Ministry for the family, the woman and the minors.

The key strategy was to involve the traditional and religious leaders who are closer to the local populations. They made it possible to reach many villages and meet all population groups with the aim of conveying a single message: it is necessary to abandon the female genital mutilation practices because they have a disastrous impact on women physical and psychological integrity.

The teachings relating to the woman’s protection and the respect that we all must have for her integrity are countless. Any kind of violence is contrary to the Muslim ethics and morality. What religion can tolerate imposing such a drama on a woman?

Cissé Djiguiba, Imam of the Grand Mosquée of Abidjan and President of the Djuigui de la Grande Espérance Foundation

The project “Support to the social, inclusive development by fighting female genital mutilations" results:

  • 31,000 persons informed by means of house calls and mass awareness campaigns

  • 500 women victims of infibulation have been assisted on the sanitary, legal and/or psychosocial level

  • 21 savings groups have been formed

  • 18 organizations of civil society and local structures, informed and trained on the Ivorian legal organization and on the methods to assist and support the victims

  • 3 appeals made to religious and traditional leaders as well as to public authorities to concretely commit themselves in fighting female genital mutilations

The closing ceremony

On Wednesday April 21st 2021,on the occasion of the closing ceremony, AVSI and the partner Fondation Djigui la Grande Espérance presented the main results achieved by this project, renewed their commitment and shared the future prospects for the abandonment of these practices that threaten the right to life of women.

The ceremony took place in Biankouma, a city in the north of Ivory Coast. The following authorities participated: Regional Management of the Ministry for Women, a Delegation of the European Union, the National Committee for the Fight against Violence to Women and Children, the platforms for the fight against gender-based violence, the traditional leaders and numerous local partners who have contributed and participated in the project activities.

In compliance with the Ivorian Constitution, Penal Code and the international agreements that condemn gender-based violence, the state authorities, the Muslim religious guides and the traditional leaders have issued and signed a declaration of commitment to promote the abandonment of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). This declaration has been read during the ceremony.