Hundreds of Malians gathered in a community stadium to denounce female genital cutting, a practice affecting some 89 percent of women and girls in the West African nation.

Thursday's ceremony, falling on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, was attended by residents of 14 neighborhoods in a suburb of the capital, Bamako.

It was the second public declaration organized in Mali by the non-governmental organization Tostan, which has worked with 7,000 communities in eight African countries to swear off female genital cutting, sometimes referred to as female circumcision.

The practice involves removing some or all of a girl's external genitals usually without anesthesia. In addition to the loss of sexual pleasure, women undergoing the procedure face more difficult childbirths and other complications.