Rising to Protect Tipin and Kor’s Rights in Amudat and Moroto is a 3-year project that seeks to unpack, profile and leverage the contextual and social dynamics that would accelerate the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), which is heavily prevalent in Amudat and Moroto Districts in the Karamoja sub-region in North Eastern Uganda. The Irish Aid-funded project is being implemented in partnership with two locally grown organizations: Karamoja Women Umbrella Organization (KAWUO) and Amudat Inter-religious Development Initiative (AIDI).
FGM/C is a violation of the rights of women (Kor) and girls (Tipin). Even if not intended as a violent act, the practice is de facto violent. It is a manifestation of deep-rooted gender inequalities and is discriminatory in nature. The practice is rooted in cultural understandings of gender, sexuality, marriage and family. These understandings influence how it is viewed and tolerated in different contexts. The Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS) of 2006 and 2011 both confirmed that in communities where it is practised, FGM/C is viewed as a necessary step to raise and protect a girl and often to make her eligible for marriage. It operates as a social convention and a social norm, and is held in place by reciprocal expectations within those communities.
FGM/C is practiced by one per cent of Uganda’s population. Many communities practice FGM/C in hidden or remote places, while others cross the border via Amudat and Moroto and get cut in Kenya, which makes it difficult to track them down. There have been limited controls on the border movements as well efforts to arrest the cutters who take the girls to Kenya.
This project has considered the assumption that when interventions are holistic, community-driven and incorporate women rights deliberation, they create an environment that enables and supports positive and sustainable change in which transformation of social norms and conventions can thrive.
The project challenges established gender stereotypes and uses advocacy and lobbying skills, community engagement mechanisms, education and information initiatives as well as training platforms, among others, to advance the abandonment of FGM/C by projects, programmes and policies which address the complex social dynamics associated with the practice. The project recognises the importance of being continuously contextually grounded and all interventions are informed by a keen understanding and appreciation of the existing cultural, socioeconomic and political dynamics in Amudat and Moroto.