Harmful Practices

Harmful cultural practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), are discriminatory practices committed regularly over long periods of time that communities and societies begin to consider them acceptable.

Around the world, hundreds of millions of girls and boys have experienced some form of violence, exploitation or harmful practice, although girls are at much greater risk. Child marriage and FGM span continents and cultures, yet, in every society in which they are practiced, they reflect values that hold girls in low esteem.

Some 650 million girls and women around the world today have been married as children, and at least 200 million have been subjected to FGM.

FGM can lead to serious health complications – including prolonged bleeding, infection, and infertility – or even death. Girls and women who have undergone FGM are at heightened risk of experiencing complications during childbirth.

In some societies, FGM goes hand in hand with child marriage. Girls married as children are more likely to drop out of school and become pregnant as teenagers – when they face increased risks of dying during pregnancy or childbirth.

Wherever they occur, harmful practices rob girls of their childhood, deny them the chance to determine their own future, and threaten the well-being of individuals, families, and societies.

CADEF’s response

The Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of all harmful practices to advance the rights of women and girls globally. CADEF seeks to ensure that every child is protected from violence and exploitation, including harmful practices, in both humanitarian and development settings. To that end, CADEF works across local communities to:

  • Promote the implementation of appropriate laws and policies
  • Support community-level transformation of social norms and practices
  • Empower women and girls to express and exercise their rights and ensure their meaningful participation in decision-making processes
  • Increase knowledge and change attitudes so that these practices can be eliminated for good
  • Increase access to quality prevention, protection, and care services
  • Increase community ownership over relevant programmes and efforts

We are commitmented to help eliminate child marriage and FGM in South West and Cameroon at large.