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Panel Discussion on FGM and Child Marriage in Semera.

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An important panel discussion was held on drivers and impacts of Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation in Semera town, Afar Region on 14 August 2023. It was organized by Wings Education and Media in partnership with Bureau of Women and Social Affairs of Afar Regional State and Unicef.

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

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

The panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Fatuma Hanfare ,  BoWSA, Drectorate director. Panelists include Mrs. Aysha Yassin, Head of BOWSA,  Mrs. Fatuma Hanfare, Directorate Director of BOWS,   Dr. Mohammeed Yussuf from BOH,   Shek Ali Abdella Esmael from Sheria,  Mr. Sedik MaheSedik from BOJ and   Mr. Yassin Mohammed Yassin from Bureau of Culture and Tourism .

Key Discussion Points included:  

Mrs. Aysha Yassin from BOWSA said that these harmful practices continue to affect countless girls and women around the world, depriving them of their rights, health, and future opportunities. And she asserted that it is everyone’s collective responsibility to put our efforts to eradicate these harmful practices and create a world where every individual can live free from violence and discrimination.

Mr. Idris Temam from the BOJ said collaborating with law enforcement agencies and judicial systems is very essential to enforce these laws effectively and hold perpetrators accountable.

Dr. Mohammed Yusuf from Dubti  Hospital stated that healthcare professionals are required to identify and report cases of FGM and child marriage, providing support and appropriate interventions for survivors. Accessible and affordable healthcare services must be available to those affected; including psychological support and reproductive health services.

There was also an Inter-generational dialogue which was attended by 40 youth and experts. Interesting topics and questions were raised by the panelists and the youth. One of the panelists, a religious leader gave a very inspiring speech. He was reciting the true words of the Holy Quran which is relevant with the issue and added that the youth not to fall for any pretext excuses for circumcision and help this culture to perpetuate. He shared his life experiences that he has five girls but none of them were cut.  Finally, all of the participants were given a plan of action to advocate for the elimination of f FGM and CM in their respective areas. The discussion was very engaging.

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