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Changing Paths: Female Circumcision in Mali


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Grade Level: Coll-Adult
Producer: Filmakers Library
Closed Captioned:
Running Time: 46 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2002
Available in French: No

In Mali ninety-three percent of the women are circumcised. This tradition is deeply rooted in village society where life is determined by respect for ancestors and a hierarchy based on age and gender. At an early age, girls are circumcised in order to allow them to "live their life in purity and become good wives". Female circumcision is not a subject that is easy to discuss in Mali. Educating people on the subject is therefore something that demands a great deal of patience and perseverance. Astan Diallo exhibits these qualities in abundance in her efforts to eradicate this practice. She works for a local NGO (non-governmental organization) and travels to several villages on her moped, talking to men and women about the health hazards of circumcision. She is sensitive to the respect that must be paid to the elders and courteously approaches these decision makers before speaking to the younger generation. I t is clear that there is little room for individual choice. As one girl says "Whatever they decide, banning it or continuing it, I will do the same. " After working for five years, Astan's hard work does bring results as old traditions make way for new ones. SUBTITLES