12 February 2016

Worldwide action against FGM

Campaign update by Anna Sørensen.

The past week has been a busy one for the anti-FGM campaign. The Scottish Government launched their national action plan on FGM, the media reported widely on FGM and events were hosted worldwide in relation to International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM on 6 February.

International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation takes place on 6 February every year. It is sponsored by United Nations and aims to make people aware of FGM and offer support to those who have undergone the procedure in some form. The awareness day is marked in various ways all over the world. Read more about this year’s marking on our website.

Following, we have gathered a number of well-written articles published in relation to Zero Tolerance Day. Please have a look:

  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the Zero Tolerance Day: “Never before has it been more urgent, or more possible, to end the practice of female genital mutilation, preventing immeasurable human suffering and boosting the power of women and girls to have a positive impact on our world.”
  • Alimatu Dimonekene, an FGM survivor and founder of Project ACEi, addressed the issue of FGM at a Zero Tolerance Day conference at the Dugdale Centre last Friday: “I call FGM a war on women’s genitals, it is an abhorrent violence against women and girls.”
  • “FGM a more urgent women's rights issue than equal pay, research finds”.
  • Ban Ki-moon calls on men across the world to campaign to end FGM”.
  • The Girl Generation celebrates Zero Tolerance Day for FGM”.
  • Podcast: a summary of United Nation’s Press conference on Zero Tolerance Day. “Helping communities abandon practice of female cutting”.
  • The United Nations theme for Zero Tolerance to FGM Day 2016 - “Achieveing the new Global Goals through the elimination of FGM by 2030”.
  • Mrs. Aisha Muhammdu Buhari, wife of Nigerian President, backs the plan and has called for relevant stakeholders to increase awareness.

Shocking statistics revealed in new report from UNICEF

“According to the data, girls 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut.”

The report was published on 5 February and shows that at least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone FGM. This is 70 million more than previously estimated.
Click here to read the full report.

We also encourage you to read The Guardian’s detailed article based on the same report.

Scotland’s National Action Plan to prevent and eradicate female genital mutilation 2016-2020

“This action plan is a milestone in our journey to tackling FGM and all forms of gender-based abuse, not a conclusion.”
- Alex Neil

The Scottish Government launched a national action plan to tackle FGM, The National reported on 4 February.

FGM cases in the country have never been higher and last year nine new FGM-related cases were reported to Police Scotland between April and June alone.

The plan’s strategic approach recognises the need to prioritise prevention/protection from FGM, provision of services/appropriate support to those who have experienced FGM, and to hold perpetrators to account.

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary For Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights, writes in the report’s foreword: “We are committed to taking forward all appropriate action that can help prevent this abuse arising, and to support women and girls in our communities who are survivors of FGM.

Click here to read the action plan.

The Victoria Derbyshire Show: new FGM case reported every 109 minutes in England

“For me it’s quite simple: you would report me if I took my daughter to the hospital and her arm or finger was cut off. You would have to report me. Why is it any different to when her genitals are cut off?”
- Leyla Hussain

Last Friday, BBC 3’s Victoria Derbyshire show reported on new FGM statistics in England. Experts say the numbers presented in the report are just the tip of the iceberg. The practice has been illegal in the UK since 1985, but no one has been convicted for it so far.

Anti-FGM campaigners Leyla Hussain, Hibo Wardere and Arifa Nasim featured in the reportage, supporting the obligation to report any suspicion of female genital mutilation.  Click here to watch it, from approximately 18:05 onwards.

“Medicalisation” of FGM in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the practice of FGM is most common to proceed without anaesthesia or skill. The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health now also warns against “medicalised” FGM and confirms all FGM should be stopped as recent evidence shows trained health workers in the country are helping families to cut their daughters. Read more here.

Kenya becoming a destination for FGM

“We do not want our girls getting married at the age of 7… at the age of 12… at the age of 15. We want our girls to go to school, have their dreams fulfilled and reach their goals. Just like boys.”
- Faith Mwangi

Victoria Rubadiri from NTV Kenya talks to Mary Wandia, FGM program manager at Equality Now, and Faith Mwangi, Global Director at Girl Generation, about the increasing prevalence of FGM in Kenya.

Kenyan journalists win award

“I’ve known girls in some communities who have died because of this – that’s why I am doing this, to stop it.”

Diana Kendi and Jane Gatwiri won the first Efua Dorkenoo Pan African Award Reportage on Female Genital Mutilation with a nine-minute film about five women who tried to escape the practice. According to allafrica.com, The Guardian and UNFPA created the award to “increase awareness and engagement on FGM within African media outlets at the community, national and regional levels”. Click here and here  to read more.


A number of blog posts have been published in the last week. We encourage you to have a look at the following:

Hannah Weaver, FGM Programme Lead at Cricket without Boundaries, tells the story of Nashipai from Kenya and talks about future plans for the campaign: “At the age of 12 Nashipai was cut; her genitals removed in a rite of passage which could see her become a woman in the eyes of her community.”

Effie Johari, a 20-year-old survivor of FGM, talks about the practice of FGM in her home country, Malaysia: “The biggest problem in stopping this practice is lack of information or rampant misinformation. I will be the first to admit that I am not 100% sure of everything I have read on the subject.”

Nigeen Dara talks about the story of FGM and how we can end it: “Whether you care about global health, good governance, international development, or human rights, the many stories of FGM are ones we need to hear about, share and combat.

This is the first of a series of blogs written by 28 Too Many volunteer Anna Sørensen. Studying journalism at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Anna’s blogs will report on progress in the campaign to end FGM in the UK and internationally.

You can donate to support our research and campaign to protect girls and end this practice. Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the global movement to end FGM.