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Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 19:21 GMT
Cattle and money to deter circumcision
Female circumcision
Female circumcision is often carried out with basic instruments
By Nathan Etengu in eastern Uganda

It is circumcision time in Kapchorwa District in eastern Uganda. and parents belonging to the Sabinyi ethnic group, are busy getting their sons and daughters ready for the snip.

But this year, things could be different.


Many people in Kapchorwa feel that female circumcision should continue

An American organisation - which opposes the circumcision of girls - is giving 100 scholarships to girls who have chosen not to go through the rites.

The United States - Uganda Godparents Association is also offering livestock to Sabiny parents who do not send their daughters to be circumcised during this year's traditional ceremony.

Cattle, goats and money for scholarships are due to be handed out this Thursday during festivities which will mark the start of this year's circumcision season.

Both male and female circumcision were compulsory for Sabiny people until 1990 when the government insisted that it should be optional.

For and against

Many people in Kapchorwa feel that female circumcision should continue.


They say it serves as a form of identity, and initiates girls into womanhood.

Many of the fiercest advocates of the practice are women who themselves have been circumcised.

Others say that the practice of female genital mutilation is harmful and unnecessary.

Uncircumcised Sabiny women often encounter prejudice in their daily lives.

For example, they are not allowed to collect cow dung to plaster their huts.

Some are also denied access to village granaries, and others are not allowed to serve visitors on the grounds that they have not yet been initiated into womanhood.

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See also:

23 Dec 98 | Medical notes
Female circumcision
14 Aug 00 | Africa
Kenya's unkindest cut
02 Mar 00 | Crossing Continents
Cutting out a tradition in Mali
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