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Sara Banja is an ex-circumciser. She says she has been practicing FGM for many years in her locality. With the start of the Joint Programme on Abandonment of FGM in the Boreda Woreda – one of the intervention districts of the programme in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region – she came to participate in the Community Conversations as part of the programme and which she says helped her to realize that she has been committing harm to women and girls in her community.

“Women and girls had no place and status in their communities to speak about their rights at public meetings and they took no decision in any social and individual issues,” Sara remarks. She adds that the programme is making important contributions in breaking the silence of the community on different harmful practices and gender-based violence.

“Because of the dialogue I brought a behavior change and I am now teaching community members including those who bring their daughters to get cut,” Sara says noting that she has convinced many mothers to save their daughters from FGM.