Find out how CCFC is working in Burkina Faso to end violence against children
By Patrice Zongo, communications manager, Burkina Faso
Imagine growing up in a town where child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM or female circumcision) is common. That’s the case in areas of Burkina Faso where villagers follow traditional customs and beliefs.
In fact, the Eastern region, where we have sponsored children, has the second-highest rate of child marriages in the country with 67.3 percent — just behind the Sahel region with 87.1 percent, according to Burkina Faso government stats.
Similar government stats estimate 11.3 percent of girls, up to the age of 14, have been circumcised in the African nation.
Child marriage and FGM affect a girl’s dignity as well as her physical and moral integrity, often keeping her out of school and jeopardizing her health and future.
But, thankfully many are ready for change. In fact, Mohamad Michara, secretary general of the region, chaired a gathering in Fada N’Gourma where some 1,000 people committed to ending the harmful practices.
“We, traditional authorities of the Eastern region, publicly declare at this lec tern we’ll do our best to end child marriage and female genital mutilation,” said Naba Debado, a representative of the traditional chiefs in the Eastern Region.
Representatives for children, religious authorities, women, men and other stakeholders also pledged to be part of the fight.
Christelle Kalhoulé, CCFC’s country director, invited those gathered to commit to change. “Why do these practices still prosper when we know their consequences to our children?,” she asked. “And, what should everyone do to find a sustainable solution?” She left the questions unanswered, emphasizing how awareness is the first step toward lasting change.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) has also been working with communities to end these forms of violence against children with financial support from UNICEF.
Through awareness-raising campaigns, such as training, peer meetings, workshops and more, community members in 250 villages in Burkina Faso have discussed the negative impact the practices have on their children. The goal is to work together for positive change.
Stay tuned for more stories on how CCFC is helping end child marriage and female genital mutilation.
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.