The declaration began with a soccer match between two women’s teams from Kouroufindéng (Dabola) with the aim of raising awareness about the abandonment of female genital cutting and child marriage. As soccer matches bring together the mass including all socio-professional categories, it was important to use this opportunity to raise awareness on social practices and norms affecting the rights of women and girls, particularly the right to health, the right to physical integrity, the right to be protected against all forms of violence and the right to be protected against all forms of discrimination.

Following the gala match, a press briefing was organized. It brought together the participants, especially the participants of the classes, the AMS, the GSC, religious leaders and the press composed of the national radio and television, the rural radios of Faranah, Kissidou, Dabola and Dinguiraye. The participants used the press briefing to explain the process that led them to the declaration with an emphasis on learning about and applying human rights and responsibilities. This process began in the classrooms with sessions on human rights and responsibilities and then the sharing of new knowledge with relatives, friends and the entire social network. The press that asked the right questions to understand the process of the declaration committed themselves to relay the information to reach more communities in order to spur a broad social movement in favor of human rights.

Following tradition, the elders presented the ten kola nuts to the authorities and participants from Beindou (Faranah), Kalinko (Dinguiraye), Dabola (Arfamoussaya) and Manfran (Kissidou). Thereafter, Mrs. Fanta DIABY, Mayoress of Arfamoussaya welcomed the authorities and participants to the declaration of Kouroufindéng. She warmly thanked the population and the authorities of Kouroufindéng who kindly agreed to host the declaration by welcoming and accommodating the participants.

The context of the declaration was presented by the National Coordinator of Tostan. To this end, from 2017 to 2020, Tostan implemented the Breakthrough Generation Initiative with a holistic approach to education on human rights and responsibilities that mobilized 2,980 participants including 2,081 women in 40 villages in the Faranah administrative region. The objectives of this project were :

– Participants re-examine their current social practices, roles, and relationships within the community and learn the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve their vision of well-being within their communities;

– Participants share new knowledge and attitudes through outreach from the classroom to the community in order to adopt new social norms; and

– Community members implement activities to promote good governance, education, health, the environment, and economic empowerment and to improve habits and practices in the area of human rights.

In the classrooms and under the responsibility of the facilitators, participants learned about human rights and responsibilities. Parallel to the classroom sessions, the Community Management Committee members are conducting sensitization in the surrounding villages to amplify the impact of Tostan’s program. Knowledge and application of these rights facilitates the abandonment of social practices and norms affecting the rights of women and girls, including the right to health, the right to physical integrity, the right to be protected from all forms of violence, the right to be protected from all forms of discrimination. Also, knowledge and application of human rights and responsibilities contribute to the promotion of the empowerment of women and girls through support for income-generating activities (IGAs). It is within this framework that Tostan has set up in the 40 villages the Development Support Fund (FAD) in the amount of 256 million FG to help women develop their IGAs.

Thus, based on their knowledge of human rights and responsibilities, 180 villages in Faranah, Dabola, Dinguiraye and Kissidougou are organizing this public declaration to end excision and child marriage. We hope that the commitments made here will be respected to protect and promote the rights of women and girls in the Faranah region.

The intervention of the National Coordinator of Tostan Guinea was followed by the testimony of religious leaders. The voice of religious leaders was carried by Elhadj Djédjé TOUNKARA who explained the position of Islam on the non-religious nature of FGC. He insisted on the fact that Tostan’s program does not contradict the teachings of Islam, rather, it reinforces them.

The closing words were pronounced by Mr. Ibrahima SYLLA, Chief of Staff representing the Governor of the administrative region of Faranah. He thanked Tostan Guinea for the efforts made to put an end to the problems suffered by the Guinean population including illiteracy, child marriages, excision, child trafficking. According to him, this ceremony marking the public declaration to put an end to excision and child marriages in the Faranah region is of extreme importance for us because of the special interest that the Government gives to the fight against all forms of violence against women and girls. In conclusion, the Chief of Staff stated that the public statement to be made today will help put an end to female genital mutilation and child marriages in the Faranah region. He gave the assurance that he will do everything possible with the local authorities and all other stakeholders in the region to address the challenges we all face.

Moreover, the Kouroufindéng (Dabola) declaration took place on December 22, 2020 under the chairmanship of the Chief of Cabinet representing the Governor of the Faranah administrative region.