African First Ladies Participate
in a Conversation on the
Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices,
Tsehaye Debalkew, Washington DC, May 15, 2012
A two-pronged evening program with a dual purpose of initiating a conversation
on the total elimination of harmful traditional practices and the purview of
introducing Inter-African Committee- USA and the Inter-African Committee on the
elimination of harmful traditional practices was staged @ the Chancery of the
Ethiopian Embassy on May 14, 2012.
The festival was accompanied by a colorful
display of Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony, authentic and organic
Ethiopian cuisine, raw and roasted Ethiopian coffee, and other cultural
and modern Ethiopian beverages. Ethiopian Honey Wine, accompanied by traditional
songs and aesthetics, exemplifying the special Ethiopian blend of cuisine,
music, art and culture gave the occasion an aura of festivity.
The colloquium kicked off in the presence of esteemed dignitaries whose retinue
included Ms. Chantal Compaore, First Lady of Burkina Faso and Goodwill Ambassador
of the Inter-Africa Committee, and Madame Lalla Malika Issuzu, First Lady of
Niger, Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy, Ambassador Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary
of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the US and non-resident Envoy
to Mexico and other invited guests.
The discussion centered on the crucial leadership role the continental organization
has taken in the creation of International instruments, the success in bringing
about national bans to the practice of Female Genital Mutilation/FGM/ and its
current input to the imminent UN Resolution condemning the continuing practice
of FGM and encouraging nations to implement and enforce bans on the sad practice.
Ms. Chantal Compaore, in her closing remark of the function underlined the need
for a concerted effort to fight against traditional practices that negatively
impact the lives of women and children. The Goodwill Ambassador stressed that
she seriously takes a close and personal interest to do what it takes to thwart
the hazardous practices.
Madam Lalla on her part emphasized for the pivotal role First Ladies should play
to see to it that laws are enacted forbidding these practices and for the need
to have the tools necessary to enforce and realize them in practice.
Ambassador Girma Birru on his part called for an enhanced and accelerated moves
by African countries to realize the Millennium Development Goals that also embody
child and maternal health and harmful practices affecting the health of women
In this regard the Ethiopian envoy pledged his country's support for the initiatives
raised in the course of the discussion by genuinely referring to the dire consequences
afflicting women and children in Ethiopia by underscoring a united endeavor to
mitigate such a scourge.
Other keynote speakers representing the continental organization and its US arm
also highlighted for a joint and urgent action that needs to be effected to annul
the harmful practice while in the interlude traditional African Madingue musical
lyrics were played and a documentary film on the harmful practices in various
countries of Africa was depicted with the view to exchanging helpful information
across the board.