Here is finally a short résumé of our sensitization tour “Education sans Excision” in Senegal in May 2012. The goal of this project is to stop female genital cutting and to sensitize the population for the harmful consequences of this pratice.
Our main aim was to reach the young people in the country side in the southern Senegal, called Casamance.
We visited many school classes in the different villages and towns where we went and there was always a huge crowd following us at the school grounds. The discussions with the students were always very positive but at the same time bitter, espacially when the the discussion turned to the young schoolgirls and their own stories. We heard stories from girls who have underwent this practice as well as from those who are not circumcised and who are now highly marginalized in their societies. Both of them are suffering, but in a different kind of way. That’s why it is so important to break the tabu because it was obvious, to talk about female genital cutting in public is still a tabu even though different NGO’s already have done great work in this areas. The whole community has to take a decision to abondon this pratice so no one will be excluded.
Beside our meetings with the young generation in the country side, we met with teachers, mayors and Imams and all of them responded very open minded to our wishes and proposed us their help. The other important thing was of course the music. Our music allowed us always to gather a big crowd wherever we played, so we could reach as many people as possible. The public was very enthusiastic in all of the places and it made a lot of fun to play and to have a good time with them beside the serious work we did.
During our journey we were confronted with dusty roads and heat. My partners from Europe and my band were suffering, but they were also very courageous and engaged. They were not there for holidays but they were there as activits, as defenders of the human rights. I really can say that we attended our aims. We had far less problems then the last tours, thanks also to my great Senegalese promoters, managers and friends.
At the end I also want to thank Orchid Project for their amazing support, they made this years project possible. I also want to thank the NGO Tostan, my local partners who helped me a lot in the work and conversation with the population. Not to forget I want to thank my band which were always by my side and of course the young woman who shared their experiences and stories with us. I think they are very brave.
Future prospects: After the end of our tour I was very motivated and during the last week of my stay in Senegal, I started to produce a music compilation about the human rights in the local Senegalese languages. The CD will be released in December with a following promotion tour with local musicians. The aim of the CD is to talk about themes like sexual abuse, violation against girls and woman, child marriage and arranged marriage. The compilation will be produced with the help of UNFPA.