perjantai 15. tammikuuta 2016

Key persons committed to spread anti-FGM teaching in Ethiopia

Serious key leaders listening to Bezunesh's feministic teaching against FGM.

Bezunesh and Tesfaye have been teaching in a Bible school in Funto, Ethiopia. In Ethiopia religious leaders and church workers are highly respected and opinion makers. But they don't teach about dangers of FGM or gender equality related issues because these are very strong taboos. Key persons are most often only male and they have no idea about "womens stuffs".

When listening to Bezunesh's teaching it's for many the first time ever they hear anyone talking about these issues. When they hear the teaching they understand so much better and realize they are the key persons to spread this kind of teaching. Our amazing Bezunesh engaged all these leaders to start teaching against FGM and to promote gender equality in their societys!

The teaching of this time is really strong. When reading Bezunesh's report I can hear a powerful feministic outcry and with a voice of a true change maker. The best part is that she is fully supported by her husband Tesfaye. His support gives her teaching the credibility and reliability that women still can't achieve in that society. This is what Bezunesh is writing in her report of this teaching time:

The third work report to our partners those who live in Finland

Challenges of women in Kambata people: Dehumanization, Socio-economic oppression, the workload of women, women in Education and Female Genital Mutilation.

We taught in Funto Bible school for 2 days. Our learners came from more than 32 different churches and denominations and they are very key persons in their congregations. There were leaders of congregations, leaders of youth groups, coordinators of women in the church and teachers of Sunday schools. The learner’s interest was very active and they were very teachable. Totally we had 64 learners, both male and female and both married and unmarried. Our teaching consisted of following subtopics:


Some cultural practices of Ethiopia are known to suppress the human quality of woman. There are many proverbs that dehumanize women. For example: 

"Women do not know beyond preparing food or beyond kitchen"

"Beating with stick is medicine for women and donkey"
"Friendless be friends with women"
"Being a father to girls and being drowned by water are the same"

These proverbs create a high psychological impact on women in the society. It makes women accept their weakness as something natural and unchangeable and forces women put themselves in the lowest category.

Socio-Economic Oppression

In many Ethiopian rural societies women are disadvantaged in many ways. The majority of women do not benefit from social, economical and political activities of the society because of their low status. Power status and decision making are two main reasons inhibiting women from enjoying a better social status.

For example in the agriculture sector the participation of women is remarkable in all activities. Despite this fact, locations of the products are mainly the domain of men. In the society, women have almost no right in managing the income generated from marketing the product. Customarily, in most areas, women are not entitled to own land even though they are accorded with equal right to ownership by the civil code. 

Gender inequality is also reflected when one examines the current educational enrollment rate, access to health institutions, employment situation, etc. All of these indicate the fact that women are marginalized and oppressed.

The Workload of Women

Women have much more responsibility to work in household than men. For example women are expected to take the responsibility for all food processing, other domestic activities, budgeting the household resources, constantly furnishing the society with labor, protecting children from any sort of danger, care for them whenever they get ill, caring for the sick and older family members. 

When we observe women in the domestic role, they are responsible for society. There are other responsibilities for women which are mentioned as a workload, like fetching water from river, collecting wood, washing cloths and so on. They are overburdened by too much work during pregnancy and expected to work even they are sick. Men do not share such responsibilities. 

Even though women play a great role in the society their contributions are unrecognized in society and in household. In these ways women are mistreated in the church and in society.

Women in Education

Women have limited access to education. In Ethiopian society many people believe that educating women is waste of time and money. The reason for this is that women are considered as someone’s property belonging to one man. They are not regarded as tomorrow’s leaders and decision makers. There are a lot of things that hinder women to benefit frm education. Many wish to see their daughters get a good marriage rather than education. Most parents or the society realize that completing the primary education is enough for the girls. The girls are also forced to see the suppressive situation of their eldest sisters and mothers. Even if there is some change regarding to women in education in present days, the attitude of uneducated people is unchanged about women education until this day.

Female Genital Mutilation

FGM is a common and acceptable norm in the Ethiopian culture. Many women are suffering from serious health problems as a consequence of this practice. FGM puts extra strain on the women that are already burdened.

FGM is causing both immediate and long-term health complication that affect women’s physical and mental being. As it has been mentioned, FGM has short and long term effect in women’s lives such as severe bleeding due to extreme pain that takes a long time to be healed.

According to Ethiopian culture, many people believe that female circumcision is a form of initiation into womanhood or to ensure social cohesion and family integration. They do this practice to reduce females’ sexual desire as a means of maintaining chastity, virginity, and fidelity and as a way of increasing male’s sexual pleasure. Now days, although this tradition is publically discouraged, some people are continuing this practice in secret because it is a culturally acceptable norm. Even if there is teaching to avoid the practice of FGM from the Ethiopian people, it is not effectively implemented. Therefore FGM has been the one of sever challenges and ways to oppress women in Ethiopian society as well as in the church until this day. 


Bezunesh and Tesfaye is doing a great work and a big change, but the reality is still that the need of this kind of teaching is really huge! There is so many unreached societys in rural Ethiopia. Bezunesh and Tesfaye gets their salary from us, me and you, trough my small NGO "Bezuneshin ystävät ry". It is expensive to travel to rural areas and they can't work without our support. If you want to join, check details here:

The same NGO is also supporting a similar team in Kenya and many Kenyan Maasai runaway girls, who are fast to become the future leaders and society changers. 

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