NEW YORK, USA 17 November 2009 – L’Appel de Diégoune (Walking the Path of Unity) has been selected as one of three films that will launch the UNICEF International Children’s Rights Documentary Film Festival at the UNICEF Headquarters in New York today.  As part of the celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the film festival is to take place in November in cities throughout the world.  Walking the Path of Unity will be shown in Canada, Croatia, Guinea, India, Maldives, and South Korea.  A full schedule is available here .

Walking the Path of Unity written and directed by the community of Diégoune, a village in rural southern Senegal, and produced in collaboration with NGOs Tostan and Respect (Belgium), documents the collective decision of the community to abandon the tradition of female genital cutting (FGC).

The film was shot in and around Diégoune from May to October 2008 and gives a voice to key players in the movement for the abandonment of FGC in the area. From the rice fields, to the village’s central square,to the local mosque, men and women explain with pride the reasons and events that led to the community’s decision to abandon a traditional practice that they came to understand was threatening the well-being of their children.

The film was created in order to help Diégoune to spread news of their historic decision and the reasons motivating it to other Diola communities, in neighboring villages, in Senegal, and amongst diaspora communities worldwide.  With the support of Tostan and Cinema Numérique Ambulant, since May 2009, Walking the Path of Unity has been projected in communities throughout the region of Casamance (Southern Senegal).  A team of four people, including a Diégoune community member who introduces the film at each projection, show the film in a different village every evening and, to date, have reached 70 villages in the region.
Diégoune was instrumental in mobilizing surrounding communities to join with them in declaring their abandonment of FGC. The film is part of Diégoune’s ongoing efforts to advocate for its abandonment. You can watch the film on our YouTube channel, Tostan International , or by clicking on the image below.

A Tostan Coordinator, from the village of Diégoune, is travelling with Tostan France Representative, Sabine Panet, to meet with diaspora groups in Europe to show the film and facilitate discussions.  It will also be shown at the opening of a government-sponsored conference on female genital cutting in the Netherlands on November 25.

To read more about the film and the participation of the community of Diégoune in the Tostan Community Empowerment Program, click here .