Awash Fontale, Ethiopia
Howa will be the first girl in her family’s history not to be circumcised. In spite of the morbidity and long-term health consequences due to the procedure, most Afar girls look forward to their salot (circumcision ceremony). They emerge from the ceremony with renewed respect in the community and are then, and only then, eligible for marriage. An uncircumcised female would bring shame to herself and her entire family. Before the elders voted to end female circumcision in Awash Fontale essentially 100% of girls were circumcised before the age of 12.
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