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Panel Discussion on FGM and Child Marriage in Bonga, South West Ethiopia

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An important panel discussion was held on drivers and impacts of Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation in Bonga town, South West Ethiopia on 13 January 2024. It was organized by Wings Education and Media in partnership with Bureau of Women and Social Affairs of South West Ethiopia Regional State and Unicef.


የሴት ልጅ ግርዛት እና ያለዕድሜ ጋብቻ ጎጂ ናቸውን? #UNICEFEthiopia#WingsTv#SouthEthiopia#WolaitaSoddo (


Key stakeholders such as Bureau of Women and Social Affairs , Bureau of Justice, Bureau of Health , from the Youth League and Federation leaders, Ethiopian Orthodox Church  and Muslim Religious leaders , FGM Practitioner, Police, Survivors, Zonal and Woreda Focal Persons of the region, Educators, Health Workers, University Students and Community Leaders took part as panelists and participants.

Important topics such as the social and cultural contexts of child marriage and FGM, the drivers, their impacts were discussed and analyzed . All the topics and concerns of the participants were answered by the experts.

It was moderated by Ms. Martha G/Hiwot (President of Bonga University Students Council . Panelists include Ms. Lemlem Amesalu (BoWCYA) ,  Dr. Desta Geneme (BOE), Mr. Tamene Tadesse (BOJ) and  Mr. Mohamed Ahmed (BOH)

The Key Discussion Points included:  

Ms Lemlem Amsalu, representing BoWCYA, provided a comprehensive explanation about the two harmful traditional practices (FGM and CM) to the audience. She explained the most common drivers and the social, economic, and political impact of these practices on the lives of women and girls in their region and the country as a whole. Emphasizing the power of tradition and cultural justification for the continuation of these practices. She further highlighted the progress made in reducing the number of cases of FGM and child marriage in their newly established region. However, she stressed the need for closer collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to achieve the ultimate goal of zero new records of FGM and child marriage.


Dr. Desta Genemie, the Deputy Head of the Regional BOH, emphasized the importance of enrolling girls in education for the improvement of their quality of life and the positive impact on the future women they would become, the families they would form, and the community and country as a whole. He highlighted how harmful traditional practices such as FGM and CM jeopardize the aspirations of women and girls in the region and the country, hindering their ability to reach their full potential.

Mr. Tamene Tadesse, the Deputy Head of the Regional BOJ highlighted the existing laws and policies, both domestic and international prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Marriage (CM). He also discussed the level of enforcement of these laws at the regional level. During the discussion, Mr. Tamene explained the importance of awareness creation campaigns on the issues.

The Religious leaders strongly emphasized that there is no support for these practices in their Holy Books. Mr. Efrem talked about how Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Marriage (CM) are being practiced a lot in the region. He said that more interventions needed to stop these practices. 

Participants of the panel discussion appreciated the organization of such kinds of social spaces. They stressed the importance of working together with government agencies, NGOs, and international organizations to effectively address and prevent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Marriage (CM).

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