5.5  Intervention strategies to minimise and eliminate HTPs

This is obviously a difficult and sensitive subject for you to discuss with people in your community. It may help if you make it widely known that the Ethiopian government and religious leaders, including Islamic and Christian, have taken a lead internationally in condemning HTPs.

  • When raising awareness who should you target?

  • Everyone in the community but especially young people, men, community leaders, religious leaders and the women who perform FGM or encourage HTPs.

    In particular, you need to work with both Islamic and Christian religious leaders as some of the justifications for practising harmful traditional practices are incorrectly linked to religions. Most religious leaders teach their followers about the position of their religion with regard to such practices which will help your effort in educating your community. It is crucial that you attempt to educate practitioners of HTPs about the dangers of such practices.

    You should also mention that the Ethiopian law is against FGM, marriage by abduction and early marriage.

    It is important to use educational activities to address the community’s perceptions that there are advantages to practising FGM. This can often be done effectively if you can describe a case study of one of the traditional harmful practices. It is even more effective if a girl who has first hand experience of a HTP is willing to discuss her problems as an example to others.

    If people in your community have suffered from HTPs and are willing to talk to you, you can help by listening in a sympathetic and non-judgemental way. There may also be some medical assistance you can offer, but you need to refer them to the next level of facilities for better psychosocial support and medical assistance.

Summary of Study Session 5