Pioneer Activist on FGM to Be Laid to Rest Next Week

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s Bogaletch Gebre – known for almost eradicating female genital mutilation in her home region – will finally be laid to rest in her home town, Durame, next week, her charity said on Wednesday.

Bogaletch died at the age of 59 in California, USA, on November 2, 2019.

Her body “will arrive at Bole airport on the 18th of October 2019 at 9:30 A.M and will be transported to Durame where the funeral service be will be held on Tuesday,” said, Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma (KMG), in a statement sent to The Monitor.

KMG’s board of directors said there will also be a special ceremony that shall be held in Addis in memory of the iconic woman – Boge and her role for gender equality.

The former scientist and marathon runner’s quiet revolution saved tens of thousands of girls from potential injury or death in Ethiopia.

“It was most impressive how she empowered the youth to reject the practice; it is a wave of hope and change into the community,” Faiza Mohamed, Africa director of the advocacy group Equality Now, told Reuters soon after her death was heard.

“It’s critical to involve the youth, have a dynamic partnership and engage with them.”

Bogaletch was determined to stop female cutting in Ethiopia after it killed her sister and nearly claimed her own life, setting up the charity Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma, which translates as Kembatta Women Standing Together in 1997.

KMG’s ethos is to instigate social change through “community conversations” involving everyone, from young men to elders and religious leaders, and replacing traditional cutting festivities with “whole body celebrations” to honor girls who are uncut.

When the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, conducted a survey in Kembatta-Tembarro in 2008, it found 97% of the population opposed FGM – a practice that had been universal only a decade before – and recommended KMG’s model be replicated elsewhere.