Uncut girls groups and community conversations
Together against female genital mutilation
We are proud to be able to work with KMG, Kembatta Women Standing Together, such a professional partner in Ethiopia. KMG was developed by human rights activist and microbiologist Dr. Bogaletch Gebre founded and works primarily against female genital mutilation, domestic violence and child marriage. Genitally mutilated even at the age of 12, Dr. Give birth to the so-called “Uncut girls groups”, which have led to the fact that female genital mutilation and HIV infections have decreased by 97% within 10 years of the organization’s effectiveness, especially in rural regions.
In the eight years of our coöperation, a total of 64 certified Rain Workers were trained on a budget basis by Aktion Regen in the Kembatta region in southern Ethiopia. These people, locally referred to as community workers, work with great commitment in three woredas (districts) of the Kembatta region. They are integrated into the existing infrastructure of our partner organization KMG and also rely on existing local groups, various women’s initiatives, anti-HIV/AIDS groups, schools and religious institutions. Regular community meetings, but above all home visits to families, help to reduce the fear of dealing with family planning.
The goal of the current project is to reach and educate 45,000 people with knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and various methods of family planning in one year. This creates a secure livelihood for women and girls, improves their health and promotes their equality. The urgency of education and awareness work can be seen in the demography of Ethiopia: 41% of the population is under 15 years of age and is of reproductive age. KMG’s Rain Workers reach around 180 people per month.
Genital Mutilation has dropped for 97% in Kembatta!
In 2013, Bogaletch Gebre (shown in the first picture on the right with a hat) received, among many other awards, the Bruno Kreisky Prize for services to human rights. Unfortunatley she has passed away in summer 2019.
Ethiopia consists of around 550 regionally administered districts, so-called woredas, which consist of several neighborhood associations, the so-called Kebeles. The Kembatta region, with the capital Durame, consists of eight woredas. Community workers are already active in three woredas (Kedida gemila, Damboya, Kachabira) in the new project from Aktion Regen together with KMG, two new woredas (Hadero Tunto zurya, Tembaro) are to be added and are supervised by 16 community workers.
Knowledge of family planning methods is not very widespread among young girls and women in Ethiopia. Although the government recommends the use of modern contraceptive methods, cultural and traditional condemnations often prevent the majority of the population from opting for family planning. At this point Aktion Regen starts with the motto Education-Motivation-Innovation. Since Rain Workers work independently in their districts, they are role models who are particularly sensitive to the concerns of young girls and women, who are often affected by violent traditional practices due to their social position.
It is challenging to reach the many different ethnic groups with knowledge, because cultural taboos, such as naming the reproductive organs or speaking openly about sexuality, block off for the time being.
Aktion Regen abolishes taboos and prejudices with its educational aids, role plays and reflection exercises. The coöperation with the state health advisors of Woreda Health Offices and the Women and Children Affairs Offices, which take part in the community conversations, is bearing fruit.
It is clear that more budget is needed, because the high demand exceeds the capacity of the current Rain Workers!
Aktion Regen changes people´s mind and behaviour about reproductive health and family planning