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The New Generation of Sudanese Women

A reason for hope in Sudan is the country is going through political change. This could open up civil spaces and support the voices of young women and girls who do not want to be cut. Sudan operates as a federal system. This means that states are allowed to have their own legislation and formulate their own child laws. The first law banning it was passed in the state of South Kordofan in 2008. This was followed by Gadaref state in 2009. Both states ratified a Child Act with an article banning female genital mutilation. The challenge was achieving countrywide ratification, which has now happened through the passing of the law by the sovereign council. But the law alone won’t reduce female genital mutilation. It will have to be supported by highly visible public health and human rights messaging at every level, most critically at the grassroots. Media campaigns have worked alongside the powerful national “Saleema” campaign. Saleema, which means “whole girl” in Arabic, is a UN-funded social movement designed to emphasise that an empowered, successful girl is uncut.