Communication 4 Development




Campaign against FGM/C

"Facts for Life" Campaign


Campaign against FGM/C

© UNICEF/MLIA2009-00068/Pirozzi
An adolescent girl carries her younger sibling on her back. While FGM/C was previously a coming-of-age ritual, it is now practiced on children in their infancy and women of marrying age.

Reversing the Trend

To reverse the trend of such violence against girls and women, most of whom are very young, it is important to carry on and strengthen large scale social interventions, using an approach that is participatory, not moralizing, and even edutainment. That is why the communities and authorities of Kayes, Segou and Sikasso regions, the Ministry for the Advancement of Women, Children and the Family, members of parliament and local elected officers, religious authorities, NGOs, RECOTRADE, and drama groups, UNICEF and their partners have jointly embarked on a massive multimedia campaign in these regions with high prevalence of female genital mutilation.

Hopes raised by our commitment

The level of commitment by national authorities, as well as the positive sensitization activities carried out by civil society and partners give good cause for the much desired change. Indeed, over a long time, our political leaders have made public statements in favour of abandoning the practice of excision and for traditional excisionists in many Malian communities to lay down their “knives”. Like in some countries such as Egypt and Burkina Faso, the initiation of a specific law to prohibit the practice of excision is taking shape in our country. The political commitment of national authorities and the social movement human rights raise hopes that in the near future a deterrent and repressive law will be adopted to supplement the measures taken to combat the practice of excision and reverse the trend. Indeed, very strong measures should be taken to sensitize, inform, and educate enterprises in Mali, and thereby make the legal measures to be taken more operational.

The Content of “The Last Knife” Campaign

The objective of the campaign is to upgrade the knowledge of the population in the three (3) regions on the consequences of the practice of excision and, in the long term, reduce, or even abandon, the practice of excision in these regions.

Synergy of action will be established with private local radios and rural ORTM stations, which will cover the entire campaign.

  • The forum theatre play “The Last Knife” on 90 sites in Kayes, Sikasso and Koulikoro regions
    90 (30 per region) sites welcome 9 young actors of the forum theatre for a play to encourage the population to abandon the practice of excision: “The Last Knife”. The play was acted on public squares and places using the forum theatre technique, which leaves room for dialogue after the performance. At least 180 discussion forums were organized after the performances. The forums were intended for the general public because it is important for the greatest number of people to be aware of “why” it is urgent to jointly fight against the practices of excision and forced marriage, which are forms of violence and discrimination against girls.
  • The Itinerant Cinema: An extensive tour by the “Cinéma Numérique Ambulant” will follow the drama performances. It will run for 18 months, to support efforts and in close collaboration with public stakeholders and specialized NGOs already very active on the sites concerned.
  • Interpersonal Approach: Civil society organizations that are strongly committed to the defence of human rights, particularly violence against women and girls, will continue to work within families and in each of the 90 villages.




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