Henriette Carvalho Kouyate – Mali

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Madam Henriette Carvalho Kouyate was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1931. She has spent most of her professional career in the area of health, raising awareness on the problems of female genital mutilation. At 74 years old, Kouyaté Henriette Carvalho, mother of six boys, is a brilliant public health professional in the eyes of all. Henriette also distinguished herself in the treatment of sterile women and victims of female genital mutilation so that they have normal fertility and a happy life in the African context. Kouyaté Henriette Carvalho is also a writer and has published a book on female genital mutilation and sexually transmitted diseases. She has fought a great deal for the protection of woman, children and for reproductive control … (1000peacewomen 1/2).

She says: “Seeing a pregnant woman’s luminous smile, hearing the happy cries of children in the playground: that is what drives me”.

Le texte: Kouyaté Carvalho d’Alvarengo, Henriette, “L’excision”. Présence Africaine, no.160, 1999.

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Kouyaté also contributed to the struggle in Mali against female genital mutilation. Her contribution ensured national opinion came to understand that female genital mutilation is a public health problem for women everywhere. This resulted in many Malian families abandoning the practice of female circumcision. More and more Malian men and women understand today that this ancestral practice cannot be justified anymore due to its negative effects on maternal health.

This decision of conscience is at the basis of the awareness and claims against female genital mutilation. This will result in the near future to the adoption in Mali of legislation against the practice of female circumcision. We hope these efforts reach this objective. Senegal (Henriette’s country of origin) and Burkina have already taken a positive step towards banning female genital mutilation which underlines the position of Dr Henriette.

Henriette Carvalho regrets, today, that none of her children are doctors, but understands it and does not regret her own daily fight to help infertile couples become fertile. This fight has also helped reduce the mortality rate of women during maternity. To summarise, Ms Kouyaté Henriette Carvalho is a pioneer in female health in our country and in the well-being of women and children. She has given several lectures on the framework of obstetric health and reproduction. In her quiet retirement, she is a counselor to the young in an area that has marked all her professional life as well as that of her life as a writer.  (1000peacewomen 2/2).

… IP Conference Delegates Learn Appropriate Technique for Putting on Sterile Gloves: (Left to right) Col. Lamine Cissé Sarr from Senegal, Dr. Emmanuel Malano from Guinea, and Dr. Henriette Carvalho Kouyate from Senegal play a game of “IP Golf” … (full text).

Les raisons qui poussent des millions de parents à mutiler ainsi leurs enfants sont d’abord liées à des contraintes sociales. Un mélange de superstitions, de tradition ancestrale et de religion, réduisent la marge de manoeuvres individuelle à la portion congrue. La plupart des parents qui s’adonnent à de telles pratiques n’agissent pas en pensant faire du mal à leur progéniture. Bien au contraire ils souhaitent faciliter l’intégration sociale de leur petite fille, éloigner d’elle le mauvais sort, la maladie, la folie, la stérilité etc… L’excision serait garante d’une vie chaste, éviterait l’adultère à la femme et assurerait que la virginité de la jeune fille soit préservée jusqu’au jour du mariage. (cf. Awa Thiam. La parole aux Négresses. Paris: Denoël, 1978, p.93 et Chantal Patterson. “Les mutilations sexuelles féminines: l’excision en question” Présence Africaine, no. 141, 1987). L’excision favoriserait la position de la femme au sein de son foyer et même la naissance des fils si précieux. Selon le Dr. Kouyaté, la pression familiale joue un rôle important : les belles-mères issues d’ethnies qui pratiquent l’excision n’acceptent pas une bru non excisée au sein de la famille, elle la juge impure et refuse qu’elle prépare les repas. Elle est la risée des autres membres et doit supporter les quolibets des coépouses (Véronique Ahiyi. “Médecin-gynécologue. Henriette Kouyaté Carvalho d’Alvarengo” Amina no. 324, avril 1997, p.30) … Au cours d’une interview, Annette Mbaye d’Erneville – une pionnière des Associations Féminines du Sénégal (FAFS) dont elle est la Présidente – relate par exemple le cas de cette petite fille Diola qui, n’avait pas été excisée et qui meurt d’un neuro-paludisme, une forme violente de paludisme cérébral. Les parents, accusés par la famille d’avoir enfreint les règles, sont convaincus que l’ire céleste s’est manifestée ainsi, car ils ont osé transgresser une coutume et violer un tabou. Ils s’empressent donc d’exciser les autres filles de la famille. (P. Herzberger-Fofana Littérature féminine francophone d’Afrique noire francophone. Paris: Harmattan, printemps 2000 – sous presse). (Texte entier).

Sorry, not any more texts found in the internet.

links:

MAQ Bulletin, Maximizing Access and Quality of Services, French version, Issue No. 1, October 1996;

Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa, 405 pages, 2005;

L’érotisme dans les romans féministes en Autriche et en Afrique noire, 404 pages, 2001;

WiLDAF/FeDDAF – WEST AFRICA, WOMEN, LAW and DEVELOPMENT in AFRICA;

{symposiumlist Mailing List Archive} Bulletin Lissanga Infos n°05, 12 Sep 2005.

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