ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A five thousand US dollar ($5,000) donation has been pledged to the Addis Ababa Fistulae treatment hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma made the pledge through the African Ambassadors Spouses Group (AASG) on 18 March 2014, during a fundraising lunch, as part of an extended celebration of the 103rd International Women’s Day. At the fundraising event that was held at the multipurpose hall of the AU headquarters, Dr. Dlamini Zuma made an instant donation of one thousand US dollars ($1,000).
Announcing the donation, while condemning the practice of female genital mutilation, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said, “Female genital mutilation is not only a health and human rights issue; it is also a social issue. When women develop fistulae, they face many social problems, abandoned by their husbands, families and communities and often left destitute and live as outcasts. We must therefore intensify the campaign until female genital mutilation is completely eradicated across the world,” she appealed.
Amongst other issues, the AUC Chairperson called for the exercise, respect and protection of girls’ rights, if Africa must develop, grow and realize its full potential.
Guests at the fundraising lunch also listened to a brief, but emotional presentation by a representative of the UNFPA Ethiopia country office, Berhanu Legesse, who brought out startling statistics of the extent and consequences of the harmful practice. He noted that “more than 125 million girls and women have been subjected to FGM, 86 million girls born between 2010 and 2015 are at risk of being cut before 2030, and another 30 million girls are at risk of being cut in the next decade, with an average of 8,000 girls daily.”
While noting ongoing policy, legal, traditional and religious efforts to arrest the situation, he said more and urgent and multifaceted initiatives and sustained actions are still needed.
Appreciating the efforts of guests and members who turned out to grace the fundraising lunch, the President of the African Ambassadors Spouses Group in Addis Ababa, expressed gratitude for the full support of the African Union Commission in general and the leadership of the Commission’s Chairperson, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
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