Global Resources

Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices

Publisher: Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices
Publication Date: Jan 2014
The Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices (IAC) advocates for the removal of harmful traditional practices (HTPs) that affect the health of women and children, some of which are female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting (FGC) and female circumcision; early marriage, forced marriage, teenage pregnancy, unhealthy delivery practices, breast Ironing, son preference, nutritional taboos, forced feeding of women and other gender-related violence.

The IAC applies a multi-pronged approach to influence policy and action, and to create positive attitudinal change through the implementation of projects at the community level. The IAC is an African regional umbrella organisation that has been working since the 1980s on policy programmes and actions to stop FGM in Africa. It was formed by African delegates to a seminar organised by a United Nations (UN) Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) Working Group on Traditional Practices, with the support of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health of Senegal. It was formed at a time when female genital mutilation was a highly controversial and a ‘sensitive’ issue for discussion and there was a critical need for an African regional voice in an international campaign against FGM. The IAC website contains various resources regarding the prevention and eliminations of HTPs, practices that violate rights of women and girls, and the care that is needed for those who suffer the health consequences of HTPs.

There is also information about the promotion of traditional practices that improve and contribute to the health, human development and rights of women and children. Among these resources is a collection of international agreements establishing FGM as a clear violation of the human rights of women and girls. A variety of videos portray the efforts being made by anti-HTP campaigners in different areas.

This website also features news, such as Collaboration Strategy on Traditional Practices that was recently developed by the IAC, African Union (AU), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) and UNICEF. Also, the IAC organised an important workshop on 18 June 2014 about the 5-year programme for the elimination of FGM in 29 African countries, with the technical and financial support of the Islamic Development Bank. It has national chapters, referred to as national committees, in 29 African countries. The headquarters of IAC is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where it is registered as a non-profit organisation, and it has a liaison office in Geneva. The IAC links to African population groups in the diaspora through its affiliates throughout the world (Belgium, Canada, Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Sweden, USA and New Zealand).