Bridge between USA and Africa: High Level Event on Harmful Traditional Practices

Bridge between USA and Africa: High Level Event on Harmful Traditional Practices

Location:   Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in the USA, (3506 International Drive Northwest, Washington DC 20008)

Chairman: Madame Chantal Compaoré, First Lady of Burkina Faso, Goodwill Ambassador of the Inter-African Committee and Coordinator of the international campaign for a United Nations General Assembly resolution banning female genital mutilation worldwide

What is this event about?

This event has a dual purpose.  First we will introduce the IAC-USA and explain our work in the Washington D.C. area, and in the U.S. generally.  Second, we will explain our role in the work of a variety of international organizations.  In addition to its role within UNECA, the IAC works in close collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Council ("ECOSOC"), the World Health Organization, the African Union, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund, and with a host of other inter-governemental and nongovernmental entities.  Specifically, we will discuss the leadership role that the IAC has taken in the creation of international instruments, such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples'  Rights, our successes in bringing about national bans to the practice of FGM, and our current role in an imminent U.N. Resolution banning FGM worldwide and encouraging nations everywhere to implement and enforce bans of this practice.

Why Do We Focus on the Role of First Ladies?

Taking a cue from the maxim "Behind every great man is a great woman," in its work over the years to promote reform both at the local and national governmental levels in Africa, the IAC has received tremendous support from the wives of African government officials, and especially from the First Ladies in the 28 countries where FGM is practiced.  Deemed "Ambassadors of Good Will" in the fight against all the traditional practices that have harmful effects on the health and lives of women and children, these women have taken a personal interest in the IAC's cause, and are dedicated to pressuring their husbands (Presidents, Prime Ministers, and individuals of influence in their respective countries) to enact laws forbidding these practices and to provide officials the tools necessary to enforce these laws.