The West African country of Mali is celebrating the United Nations-recognized international day promoting the abandonment of female genital cutting.
Fourteen neighborhoods of Yirimadio, a suburb outside the capital city Bamako, will no longer support the practices of female genital cutting and forced marriages for children.
This is the second public declaration in Mali in the last eight months by societies who have participated in a community empowerment program hosted by the non-governmental organization Tostan.
Tostan has worked with 7,000 communities in Africa to condemn genital cutting.
Prior to making public declarations, communities work with Tostan for a period of three years to complete an educational empowerment program which emphasizes human rights.
Female genital cutting is a procedure that removes the clitoris and some parts of the labia. These procedures are mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15.
In many communities, females who are not cut are unable to take up the traditional role as mother or wife.