Female Genital Mutilation practised in Malawi on the quiet

The practice of female genital mutilation is very quietly happening in some parts of the southern region with activist calling for a systemic cultural shift to end the harmful procedure.

Sharp razors used for Female Genital Mutilation

Sharp razors used for Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation often entails the complete or partial removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

Nyasa Times spoke to some chiefs in Machinga, Zomba and Chiradzulu who confirmed that girls in these areas are undergoing the procedure during initiation with the practice going almost unnoticed because of the secrecy surrounding it.

A change in culture is needed to make sure women and girls will no longer have to undergo the procedure, said Senior Chief Liwonde.

“The initiation is intended to prepare them for adulthood,” he said.

He admits that  some of the practices carried out during the initiations are not openly discussed with just anyone and are generally kept as a closely guarded secret.

Initiation camps are held outside villages in temporary shelters built just for this purpose and then burnt to the ground once children are sent home, said the chief

The risks associated with female genital mutilation include heavy bleeding, developing sepsis, urinary tract infections, cysts and becoming infertile.

In Zomba, Sub TA Ntholowa confirmed that girls spend days at the “initiation” camps dedicated to learning how to engage in sexual acts through a rite of passage.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission, a government agency,  reported that initiations impinge on girls’ rights to education, health, liberty, and dignity.

The Commission further elaborates on some of these rituals, stating that girls are taught a dance known as chisamba “as a way of preparing them for their role of satisfying their husbands in bed,” and that they are made to perform this dance at the end of their initiation “bare-breasted in a very explicit manner as they are being presented to the whole community.”

The study also notes, however, that initiation rites vary widely, and that in some communities girls attending initiation are advised not to have premarital sex.

Despite the social role of initiations, there are numerous public health concerns surrounding the custom in Malawi. Young girls largely unaware of the risks are being told to have unprotected sex in a country where a tenth of the population is HIV-positive.

Girls Empowerment Network, a locally run coalition of young women led by Joyce Mkandawire is sensitising the public and local leaders against harmful cultural practices.

“The difficulty with culture is you deal with the [village] chief and he says, ‘I have changed. I have put [in] bylaws [to prohibit initiations]. [Then] you come [back] and [initiations] are quietly being done,” says Jean Mwandira, a specialist in reproductive and adolescent health with the United Nations Population Fund in Malawi.

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20 thoughts on “Female Genital Mutilation practised in Malawi on the quiet”

  1. Ine ndemwe says:

    I feel like mukunena zokoka and you dont have the english name. FGM is something serious. I havent heard about it in Malawi. One of the reasons why it is done is ensure that they eliminate/reduce sexual drive in the females and only have it to satisfy their husbands. You will find that this is not the case in Malawi. The clitoris is not removed.

  2. Bandawe says:

    Primitive tribes

  3. Jigidijigidi Jaba says:

    Green Muheya you are stupid. Please do not use your privilege of being a journalist irresponsibly by peddling cheap propoganda. It is unfortunate that despite all the negative practices which you people have tried to associate the Southern region people, the Yao and sometimes the Lomwes in particular, you would want to label them with another negative. This is unfair and irresponsible. You yourself can even testify that even the statement you are saying Chief Kawinga made are is something of your own making. Since when did girls initiation camps in Machinga started being located in the bush? It is a well known fact that female initiation camps are housed in houses within the village are are not even burnt when the initiation process is finished. Get your facts straight. You may even go and sample initiated girls from these ethnic groups to see it their packed are lack some accessories. Please feed people facts not lies and your will earn their respect. Until then you will always be a cheap journal. I rest my case.

  4. wachilomwe okoka says:

    mwapeza ina yoti mudyerepo ndalama sichoncho? kamuvuleni mwana wachilomwe olo wazaka 5 mukazizwa kuona atamanga mafundo. we value nyini kuposera kusheva. mukuti chani alukhu inu. kuthako kosakoka koma kwa mtumbuka…….osatinyozetsa alomwe chigololo timathadi. pezani ina. mxuuuuu

  5. Big punisher says:

    Mkazi waku Machinga by the name of G has denied this story of chopping off some stuff between their busty legs.Machinga women have a full package.Ndiye osawawonongera misika.

  6. Segstocles says:

    Even the male sex organ mutilaton has to stop because the country which is sponsoring it is divided. Some section is in support of it while the other is not.

    Intact america is the one which is not in support of it. Intact america condemn the practice because of the fact that the foreskin contains langerhans which are responsible for fighting against pathogens. They even fight against viruses.

    For those who would like to know more please visit the INTACT AMERICA webpage so that you’ll read by yourself. This is no simple matter guys please some of these reaserchs have a hidden agenda and is diabolical.

    Malawians let’s desist from being used and killed swiftly. Why has USAID bankroled more money on this and not on food to assist those dying of hunger?

    Is it logical for a spouse in a house which is devided over something to be sponsoring the same thing in another house? Is it logical to let people die of something contingent whilst sponsoring something avoidable?
    ……….chenjera posaka malawi nyama yako ikhoza kukhala nyambo

    ndati pauzimba malawi……………….

    Komabe imba ufulu sinsimatu ayi

    komabe imba mtendere sinsimatu ayi

    malawi malawi iii………………..

  7. Tengupenya says:

    The mutilation is happening!

  8. Baba -Mdogo says:

    Achimwene ! Apa ndiye mwanapo . Be specific and mention the name of the villages where FGM is practised in southern region.
    Or let the girls who have gone under such operations come out in open, then i will take your story seriously

  9. Mapwiya says:

    Mukatha spa muziti kota anyapala inuuu

  10. mukharapwio says:

    akazi a kummwera kuno amakhala ndi zokokoka zambiiri moti kuona nanyong’oyo ee ngati ungomudya ndi kamwa izi mwalembazi mzabodza maplan ongodyera ndalama kulibe mdulidwe wa azimayi kuno mwina pitani pakati ndi kumpoto komanso ndakaika naonso amakhala ndi nyini zokoka.panya panu.mafumuwo amangoyankha ee zilizonse pofuna ma freebeis

  11. mukharapwio says:

    akazi a kummwera kuno amakhala ndi zokokoka zambiiri moti kuona nanyong’oyo ee ngati ungomudya ndi kamwa izi mwalembazi mzabodza maplan ongodyera ndalama kulibe mdulidwe wa azimayi kuno mwina pitani pakati ndi kumpoto komanso ndakaika naonso amakhala ndi nyini zokoka.panya panu

  12. kent says:

    kumalawi theory inachuluka .

    Ndili dndi mafunso ochepa

    1.e.g A certain MP said ndayambitsa trophy so that teenagers should be busy instead of indulging themselves in immoral behaviour.Theorically the statement is right but practically is wrong why if i may ask sex act is like an episode is does not end the same day its like an exproration.It only takes 5 minutes but it has not designed timeframe its not a project.

    2.Tell me between educated and uneducated people who are most likely to indulge in unprotected sex compared to uneducated people.e.g lets take an example of pa POLY COLLEGE how many students conducts casual sex in terms of kufewetsa?

    3.Is sex driven by nature or the illiteracy level of a person?Do we have educated people who are HIV and AIDS positive and vice versa.

    My conclusion is in Malawi we like generalising issues based on assumptions rather than on proven facts found by ourselves not my friend conducted a research and he found this were you there?

    Ma ufulu a Tumbuka are there for personal gains not for masses.e.g these tumbukas employs housemaids enquire how they treat them you will make the conclusion of who practically they really are.

  13. kumiwuwe khomeni. says:

    Leave our culture alone pls

  14. Becca says:

    You want to alternate our culture with Western cultures (Its good to practice our cultures than adopting Gay in the name of human rights)

  15. peter Banda says:

    Iii zoopsa

  16. kesterkalonga says:

    Kodi mwachula machinga koma dera simunalichule bwanji? Anakungwi sagwirisa nthito lezala chiyambire mwayamba mwamva kuti mwana mwatumizidwa ku chipatala. Mtundu uli wonse uli ndi chikhalidwe chake.musiye kulemba zopusa.

  17. g says:

    Probably the chief does not even know what female genital mutilation is. I am on older woman from machinga and I am very aware of these initiations but have never heard of Female genital mutilation being practiced. It is therefore only right for these allegations to be proven and people responsible should be taken to task

  18. Zamkutu says:

    The story did not give details about where and how this is practised. Even the chiefs did nopt explain. There is nothing you have written we do not know. Shallow writing.

  19. mtumbuka1 says:

    Encourage these girls to go to school so they can be independent in future other than teaching them about sex. They will be willing to practice what they learnt at these useless schools and will be prone to h.i.v and Aids and their young lives will be cut short. These other cultures leaves alot to be desired. How do you expect to have a prosperous nation when instead of sending children to school you decide to send them to these shacks to prepare them for useless marriages and sex in the villages?

  20. Bright Mkosi says:

    Mpaka maleza iiiiii zoopsa izi koma azathuwa mmmmm

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