Amina is 42 years old and has been working with our partner the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) to end FGM since she was 20. A native of Afar, she has been with the project since its inception. Starting as a Women-Extension Worker, Amina progressed to being a Women Extension Leader in her area and then trained to become the Gender Officer for APDA, the position she holds today.
After losing her daughter in a tragic car accident Amina was motivated to help young girls in her community. Having lived through many of the difficulties women face in Afar gives her special insight into the role and the challenges her young beneficiaries face. Amina has found that the project has made great strides in Afar, whereas before women were not encouraged to care for their own bodies or their health now the process of forcing girls into child-marriage has greatly reduced and girls are more valued in their community.
“Girls were dying drinking poison before (to avoid marriage) but now this is a thing of the past through negotiation and awareness”
Amina is also happy that FGM has definitely decreased in her time working with APDA. She has come across several girls who have not been cut at all and this gives her great pleasure and motivates her to continue her work.
However Amina sees all too well the effects the Tigrayan conflict has had on the project. Priorities have been shifted to essentials such as food and medical assistance. Roads have been blocked meaning Amina cannot travel to other communities to educate and assist people there. The vast number of displaced people searching for shelter have found it with some Afar families, but this has put the families under strain, so they struggle to care for themselves.
“”My hope is that we will reach the point that communities do actually leave the FGM practice and forcing girls to marry at a young age.”
Heartbreakingly, Amina’s 2 decades of work is being undermined and pushed back by this conflict. Please help her today to keep working to educate communities against FGM.