Benin: Feature-Cutters Turn Counsellors to Fight Female Genital Mutilation

Cotonou — „The number of lives I shattered is enormous,“ says traditional cutter turned health adviser. Browsing a market in Parakou, a city in Benin, 63-year-old Yon Sokogi was troubled by the latest gossip about a teenage bride rejected by her husband after she lost control of her bladder. Recognising this as a complication of female genital mutilation (FGM), Sokogi decided to visit 19-year-old Kpaaré, a mother-of-two, in the hope of convincing her go to a hospital. But Sokogi is not a typical health worker. She is a cutter-turned-counsellor, who put down the knife five years ago – after cutting more than 1,500 girls during a 20-year period – to instead work towards stamping out FGM.
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