Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a harmful traditional practice involving the cutting or removal of the external female genitals. It has existed for more than 2,000 years and is performed on girls from birth, up to just before marriage, and sometimes beyond. FGM is also known as 'female circumcision' or 'cutting', and by other terms locally.
Type I: Partial or total removal of the (external) clitoris and/or the prepuce.
Type II: Partial or total removal of the (external) clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora.
Type III: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris.
Type IV: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterisation.
Our vision is a world where every girl and woman is safe, healthy and lives free from female genital mutilation. We are a registered charity, established in 2010 by Dr Ann-Marie Wilson to undertake research and provide knowledge and tools to those working to end FGM in the countries in Africa where it is practised and across the diaspora worldwide.
Guest blog by Zahra from SIMAHO
As an ancient tribal tradition, FGM has been adopted by many countries, particularly in Africa. It is wrongly believed to be a religious requirement and done to “protect” girls. Also, it is believed to prevent excessive clitoral growth and preserve virginity to ensure marriageability. Therefore, it has highly affected many village girls in Kenya with levels highest among Somali and Muslim women. From the age of six and up to teenage years, girls have forcibly undergone FGM. This action is a five-level effect; childhood, girlhood, marriage and sexual intercourse, pregnancy and childbirth, and later life.
Guest Blog by ZamZam Jama, Youth Anti FGM Somaliland
FGM/C is a traditional practice in which part of or the entire external female genitalia is removed. Some communities refer to it as female circumcision (FC). The severe effects of FGM/FGC on the health of girls and women have been widely documented. FGM/FGC results in complications at birth for both mother and child, sometimes leading to death. The practice has strong repercussions on the health of women and on the social, political and economic fabric at individual and community levels.
Guest blog by Valerian Mganiis, an anti-FGM campaigner from Tanzania and a member of Arukah Network.
FGM is engrained in our culture. Where I live and work, it is believed to be an order from the spirit. The belief goes like this: if a girl has not been cut, then she cannot be accepted in the community. But once she has been cut, she is ready for child marriage, she can be taken out of school, and she can get pregnant at a young age. And so FGM does not just cut a girl’s body, it cuts short her life prospects too. It is at the root of all sorts of social problems that hold back women.
Guest blog by Chantalle Okondo, Assistant Program Officer with Population Council.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) brings awareness of the need to globally eradicate FGM/C. However, it can be difficult to ensure that no girl or women is left behind on a local level. This could not be truer when it comes to West Pokot County on the western side of Kenya, where FGM/C is nearly universal (85 - 94%)1, 2 despite the practice being outlawed by the National Government.
Guest Blog by Mama Sylla, FGM survivor and Chairwoman of la Fraternite Guineenne.
I grew up in a society where I had been led to believe that FGM/C was normal and justified. In Guinea the practice of FGM is still widespread and the belief is that a girl has to undergo FGM in order to be accepted later as an accomplished woman.
Guest Blog by Hope Gloria Mugambi Mwanyuma, Founder: Hope Alive Africa Initiative: A safe space for girls is a place where women and girls can go to at any time to feel safer and empowered and have access to information, education, recreational activities, support and services.
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