Prize for Women's
Creativity in Rural Life

14 Laureates awarded in 2007

"Promoting Women’s rights"

Africa Burkina Faso

Association pour la Promotion des Femmes de Gaoua (APFG)

Courage in transforming traditional practices

Promoting Women's rights

Initially, the members of the Association for the Promotion of Women from Gaoua were mothers who joined together to do activities for the improvement of the school's environment for their children. Their success permitted an increase of activities and initiatives of the association. Today, more than 400 women are members and APFG developed multiple activities in favor of women. Economically, it encourages the production and sale of soap and herb perfumed creams, production of local beer, runs a restaurant, encourages the processing of groundnuts and pork rearing. Socially, the association offers micro credit to its members, organized in small groups, mutually ensuring reimbursement. Concerned with the environment and conscious of the dangers associated with the overexploitation of wood, the association promotes improved stoves and solar cookers as well as tree planting.
But the most innovative program of APFG is its campaign to fight Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which reduces the woman's right to physical integrity. APFG organized a regional meeting with 420 participants, including 48 FGM practitioners, local authorities, traditional leaders, other associations, human rights organizations and trade unions. 30 out of the 48 FGM practitioners renounced the FGM practice and realized that they could benefit from APFG's support.
The real innovation is an original approach to the problematic blood ritual. The aim is to transform an act that is bloody, dangerous, inhumane and painful into a symbolic act, in which practitioners only simulate the ritual. This is a particularly compelling example of how APFG uses culture and regional traditions to find ways for transformation of rituals and social practices in general.

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