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Confronting Female Genital Mutilation: The Role of Youth and ICTs in Changing Africa

Marie-Hélène Mottin-Sylla and Joëlle Palmieri
Pambazuka Press, ENDA, IDRC

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It is no longer possible, in Africa or elsewhere, to continue thinking about the excision issue in the same way as we did 25 years ago. African information society is exploding: information and communication technologies (ICTs) are no longer a novelty, daily life is constantly transforming and as a result many beliefs and practices are changing, particularly among young people. 

How can we re-examine the impact of 25 years of concerted action aimed at eliminating female genital mutilation (FGM) – excision – in Francophone West Africa? Why, how, by whom and for whom has the digital revolution been used over the past 10 years to achieve that end? If young people – both male and female – are the big winners in the digital revolution, how were they involved in this undertaking that concerns them intimately as victims, subjects, objects, actors, citizens, leaders and family and community stakeholders? What gender issues do excision and ICTs raise? Why and how would it be appropriate and even essential to incorporate them into a strategic vision of citizen, public, private and personal development?

In this age of the Internet, abolishing FGM in Africa is first and foremost a matter of young people, gender and citizenship. It requires a cross-sectional vision of development. That is the main message of this work, which presents the results of an innovative research and action project carried out by ENDA Tiers Monde with the participation of young girls and boys in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.

The authors

Marie-Hélène Mottin-Sylla, a researcher at ENDA (Dakar, Senegal), she has published several research papers and scientific articles on women, gender, excision and information and communication technologies in Francophone West Africa.

Joëlle Palmieri, a political sciences researcher, gender expert, communications consultant and doctorate student at the Centre d’étude d’Afrique noire [Black Africa Study Center], she is writing a thesis on the political uses of ICTs by women in Africa.