Cultural, Religious and Political Diversity
Culture is a learned belief system that guides our perceptions of the community, values, norms, attitude and behavior. All humans have different cultures that are learnt and exchanged when people come across other groups of different cultures (Eze, 2016). The Somali culture is still embedded in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) despite the recognized Islamic laws against the practice. FGM is the process by which there is the removal of female genitalia or other injury made to female genital organs for non-medical purposes (Gemignani & Wodon, 2015). It is a social ritual that is done in many countries extending from Africa to the Middle East and some of the Islamic countries. Intrinsically, FGM has consequences that are both immediate and life-long, which can have adverse mental, physical and psychosocial effects on the welfare of those who undergo the exercise. The practice often takes place in rural areas by local midwives who use unsterilized instruments. Thus, the process endangers the life of a young women who undertakes the practice even before they reach their puberty age (Reisel & Creighton, 2015).
Each cultural group has unique perspectives and strengths that the whole organization or rather the community can benefit from (Nour, 2015). Therefore, in a workforce where we have persons whose culture, religion, politics differs from ours, we should include every person in decision-making process. Comprehensiveness is important in that with the input and support of all group members, implementation of the decisions made becomes easier. Also, there is need to appreciate the cultural diversity which creates a feeling of acceptance in the working place, which eventually leads to a positive delivery of the assigned duty. Lastly, understanding of cultures is significant in a work place as it helps in overcoming and preventing racial and ethnic divisions, which could result in misunderstandings and sometimes failure to meet organizational goals (Nour, 2015).
Some unhealthy practices such as FGM could be done as a result of little awareness of the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation or rather ignorance of the consequences of the practice of FGM due to other factors such as lack of source of income (Nour, 2015). To assist persons in changing such beliefs that has been part of their culture, one can consider the following actions; first is to create awareness of the consequences of the FGM practice. For instance, in the case of Medina Hassan who was fifty-five years old and was a practitioner of mutilating girls all her life. She gave up the practice after attending a series of workshops which highlighted the repercussions of the practice.
Second, Fatuma Hassan argues that besides the education on FGM, people should be provided with alternative sources of income. This is because the circumcisers may be aware of the consequences but due to lack of anything else to do, they will continue practicing it (Nour, 2015). Finally, aid workers should try hard to fight ignorance as illustrated by the parent of the seven-year-old girl who lit fire in a hole to control the infection suffered by their daughter after circumcision, which eventually resulted to her death due to severe burns. Additionally, aid workers should provide training on other occupation for FGM such as being traditional birth attendants (Alcaraz, Siles & Solano, 2014).
The shift of cultural norms for a long term requires raising awareness through education so as to bring up a generation that does not feel bound by the need to be accepted in the community through conforming to a certain practice (Alcaraz, Siles & Solano, 2014). Much more, UNICEF ensures participatory and community ownership through creation of programs, which includes workshops to bring together authorities, religious leaders, elders, women, health workers among others to debate and reach on an agreement, within the context of Islam, about the abolition of the action. Lastly, mobilization of community is also necessary whereby there is an enabling environment for every individual to make decisions based on their interest. This strategy targets families, youths who will be future parents as well as leaders who has influence in the community. Hence, it would make it possible to work with people of different culture, religion and politics (Alcaraz, Siles & Solano, 2014).
In conclusion, some cultural practices should be embraced while others such as female genital mutilation should be done away with. This could be made possible by starting at an individual level where each person should change personal believes and behavior towards certain rituals and at a national level through setting of rules, regulations and remedies for those that violates the rules against FGM and gender based violence. Consequently, each person; male and female, child or adult will feel accepted and belonging to the community and will eventually become productive in the society.
1. Reig Alcaraz M., Siles González J., & Solano Ruiz C. (2014). Attitudes towards female genital mutilation: an integrative review. International nursing review, 61(1), 25-34
2. Nour N. M. (2015, January). Female genital cutting: impact on women’s health. In Seminars in reproductive medicine (Vol. 33, No. 01, pp. 041-046). Thieme Medical Publishers.
3. Reisel D., & Creighton, S. M. (2015). Long term health consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Maturitas, 80(1), 48-51.
4. Koukkula M., Keskimäki I., Koponen P., Mölsä M., & Klemetti R. (2014). Female genital mutilation/cutting among women of Somali and Kurdish origin in 2010-2012 in Finland. The European Journal of Public Health, 24(suppl 2), cku162-014.
5. Gemignani R., & Wodon Q. (2015). Female genital mutilation (FGM) or female genital cutting (FGC) is a cultural practice found across much of the African continent (Both terms are used in the literature, but in this chapter we will use FGM.). Within the context of this book, it is important to highlight that the practice has potentially important economic consequences. Law and Social Economics: Essays in Ethical Values for Theory, Practice, and Policy, 99.
6. Eze, C. (January 01, 2016). The Body in Pain and the Politics of Culture: Nnedi Okorafor and Warsan Shire.
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