SARE HAROUNA, Senegal — When Aissatou Kande was a little girl, her family followed a tradition considered essential to her suitability to marry. Her clitoris was sliced off with nothing to dull the pain.
But on her wedding day, Ms. Kande, her head modestly covered in a plain white shawl, vowed to protect her own daughters from the same ancient custom. Days later, her village declared it would abandon female genital cutting for good.
DAKAR, 26 September 2011 (IRIN) - Talibouya Ka, Muslim leader (imam) of the Omar Kane mosque in the Medina neighbourhood of the Senegalese capital Dakar, encourages his followers to procreate as much as they can. “There are imams who are for family planning, but I am not. I tell worshippers they need to increase the size of the global Muslim family.”
Such attitudes, which used to be prevalent in Senegal, are increasingly rare, particularly in Dakar, midwives and doctors at the Hospital Centre for Health and Hygiene in Medina, told IRIN.
In 2008, a small grant from the Sexuality, Society and Gender Program of the University of Uppsala in Sweden was recived to undertake a research on Senegalese women’s sexuality which findings would be published as a book.The research was completed an all articles drafted, but the money for printing and disseminating the book was lacking. This grant made the publication possible.
Project: Publication of a Resource Book on Sexuality in Senegal
One of the outcomes of the workshop on Women’s Access to Land, organized by the International development Research Center (IDRC) and Dimitra in Mbour in 2008 is the establishment of an ambitious action research programme designed to improve and safeguard women’s access to land in Senegal. It is being coordinated by the Group d Recherche Action Sur le Foncier au Senegal (GRAFOSEN – Senegal Land Action Research Group). This initiative aims at creating close cooperation between all actors on the land issue and to establish a platform for actors.
This project was implemented by RADI to address discrimination suffered by Senagalese women in relation to inheritance and land ownership. Although women’s equal right to inheritance is recognized in the Constitution, certain interpretations of Muslim laws and customary laws continue to discriminate against women in Senegal. The project was undertaken in the Senegal River Valley, using three strategies: (a) social mobilization, (b) capacity building, and (c) advocacy with decision-makers.
This network seeks for violence against women to be understood as a human rights violation within Senegal; the revision and amendment of laws that are discriminatory to women; the passage of laws that promote gender equality; and women’s increased participation in decision-making processes. The name Siggil Jigeen has much significance within Senegalese ‘culture’; it expresses the promotion of the status of women. ‘Siggil’ means enhance, rehabilitate, promote, defend women, and by extension, the family and society.
GREFELS’ mission is to promote feminist research and campaigning in Senegal. They focus on issues related to citizenship and law reform (including those of family, sexual and reproductive rights of women), laws and cultural norms and religious gender-based violence (including forced marriage, domestic violence, and fundamentalisms), trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and girls, and female migration. GREFELS is also the WLUML RCO-AME.
The Committee’s aim is to eradicate all forms of violence against women and children (sexual, physical, moral, forced and early marriages, trafficking, sexual exploitaion, etc.). They also work to support women and children victions of violence (through their own counselling centre), as well as monitor that laws are enforced. They hold informative talks and training seminars, as well as annual/bi-annual conferences with, for example, priests, Islamic scholars, sociologists, and laywers.