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Project January 31, 2023

FGC in Guinea: The Role Religion Plays

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Women selling fruit in Conakry. Image by Madeline Hart. Guinea, 2022.

FGC, also known as female circumcision, is practiced around the world and holds great importance for people of many cultures, including in the West African nation of Guinea. The WHO and UN have condemned the practice as a violation of the human rights and health of women and girls. However, the practice remains prevalent in societies around the world, particularly in West Africa, and efforts by international organizations are often deemed imperialist.

In Guinea, although the practice is outlawed, 97% of girls are victims. Here people cling to religion, and religious leaders hold incredible sway over their followers. Thus, religious groups have instead become the face of the anti-FGC movement.

These attempts should in theory be effective; however, they have failed to decrease rates of FGC in Guinea. While reporting on female genital cutting in Guinea, Madeline Hart found that religious groups do not involve women when creating their programming, often failing to even have a woman in the room. Additionally, almost all interventions reduce the problem to a maternal health one, which ignores the fact that there exist other issues.

Hart interviewed several women who used their stories to empower others and convince them that they should not allow their daughter to become victims of FGC.

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