Education not mutilation

19 February 2016

Campaign update by Anna Sørensen.

Education not mutilation

Ban Ki-Moon“We see examples in this room and around the world.  One Ethiopian woman who used to perform female genital mutilation said she “will never, ever think of subjecting [another] girl to the harm and suffering” it causes.  Now she campaigns with us.”
- Ban Ki-moon

An article published by The Guardian this Wednesday provides a summary of the conference in New York on 8 Feruary in relation to International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s speech on the anti-FGM campaign’s progress in recent years became a highlight of the event. In his speech, Ki-moon stressed the importance called for a shift in focus from FGM to girls’ education. 

Click here to read the full speech.

Click here (link: to read another detailed summary of the conference.

Gambia’s VP celebrates FGM ban in the country

"The encouraging news is that more and more communities are taking action to end FGM/C in the country."
- VP Nije-Saidy

Vice President of Gambia, Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, spoke at the stakeholders’ forum organised by the Women’s Bureau under the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Women’s Affairs last Friday. She then thanked Gambian women for their efforts in the campaign against FGM and celebrated the launch of Women's Amendment Act 2015.

Click here to read more.

Conflicting attitudes amongst minority groups in Sudan

“My daughter will not be cut”
- Fatema

In the wake of International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM, UNICEF published an article about the shift in attitudes towards FGM in Sudan, stating that more than half of Sudan’s women believe the practice should be discontinued. (

Despite this, recent evidence shows that women in minority groups are being pressurised to have FGM as adults to avoid being ostracised. Alison Parker, the head of communication office at Unicef, told The Guardian that living in a country with one of the highest FGM rates in the world was bound to have an impact.

The government in Sudan introduced an anti-FGM bill to parliament in 2007, but it is yet to be legislated.

New initiative aims to end FGM in Egypt

"Doctors Against FGM" was launched by Deputy Health Minister Maisa Shawqy on Wednesday 17 February. The initiative aims to end the practice of FGM in Egypt. Figures show that 9 in 10 women aged 15-49 in the country have undergone the procedure.

Click here to read more.

UNICEF report reveals extent of FGM in Indonesia

“We still have a lot of homework to do.”
- Indonesian Minister for Women’s Empowerment Yohana Yembise

Figures reveal that at least 60 million girls and women in Indonesia have had FGM, but this might just be the tip of the iceberg as the subject is a large taboo in the country.

Click here to read more.

Hibo Wardere portraitPaintings of FGM survivors exhibited for the second time

“Because I have the privilege to speak, I have to roar. I will continue to roar for as long as there are women who have no voice.”
- Leyla Hussein

We encourage you to have a look at artist Emma Scutt’s painted portraits of FGM survivors and campaigners Alimatu Dimonekene, Hibo Wardere, and Leyla Hussein. The portraits are accompanied by the written stories of the women.

The exhibition is currently on tour across Walthamstow Forest libraries, this is the second time the paintings are exhibited. Dates listed below.

Tuesday 9 February - Tuesday 23 February, Hale End Library
Thursday 25 February - Thursday 3 March, Walthamstow Central Library

Click here to see the work and read the stories on The IPF.

Exclusive interview with Dr. Marci Bowers

Global Woman Peace Foundation has published an interview with Dr. Marci Bowers about post-FGM restorative surgeries: “Women are talking about their bodies. Truth and justice will ultimately prevail and cutting will soon be no more. Traditions must retain respect but cutting must end.”

Click here to read the full interview.


A 19-year-old from Georgia, USA shares her experience with the ‘bundu’ season in Sierra Leone on Equality Now to mark International Zero Tolerance Day to FGM: “with herbs before starting. It was painful, very painful. I cried for my mum and dad, I screamed hoping they will hear me.”

Link to blog

Cathy Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, writes about three ways the United States work on the international front to end female genital mutilation: “There is a growing number of individuals, organizations, and countries working to tackle this problem. The United States is proud to be one of them.”

Link to blog

Coming Up this week

Cuttin' It - a new play performed as a radio drama on BBC Radio 4, Thursday 25th February 2016

Don't miss Charlene James' multi award-winning drama set in South London. Winner of 'Best Single Drama' in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2016, winner of the Alfred Fagon Award for 'Best Play' and the George Devine Award for 'Most Promising Playwright' in 2015.

The play is about two Somali teenagers, Muna and Iqra, go to the same school. They are from the same place but they are strangers; strangers who share a secret embedded in their culture.

28 Too Many volunteer Anna Sørensen is studying journalism at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Anna’s writes weekly blogs which report on progress in the campaign to end FGM in the UK and internationally.

If you want to get involved you can donate to support our research and campaigns. Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the global movement to end FGM.