UK makes biggest investment to help end FGM in African countries

Fgm Asmahan Obaid Hamad
10-year-old Asia, with her mother Asmahan Obaid Hamad, is campaigning to end FGM in Sudan. She is seen wearing a headscarf for the Saleema project to stop the practice (DFID / Steph Moor)

Child marriage, Girls' education

Funding will assist girls’ clubs in schools and other programmes to ensure girls stay in education and avoid child marriage.

In many African countries, girls who are in school can have their hopes and futures suddenly dashed by horrific cultural practices.

They are pulled out of education, forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) and then married off – usually to a much older man.

Many communities are now abandoning the practice and education has a key role to play. Educated girls and women can make more informed choices and school-based interventions can prevent many from undergoing FGM and early marriage.

Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, the United Kingdom today announced the largest ever donor investment to help end FGM.

UK aid will provide an extra £50 million to tackle this issue across the most affected countries in Africa, as part of a drive to end the practice by 2030.

The funding will support community programmes and grassroots campaigners to carry out work in the community, support women’s organisations and girls’ clubs in schools where they can discuss the issue in safe spaces.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Somewhere in the world, every seven seconds, a girl is at risk of FGM. 

“Inspirational, courageous African women are leading efforts to end the practice in their own countries, and thanks to them, more communities are starting to abandon the practice.

“But progress is at a critical juncture and we must work to protect the millions of girls that are still at risk of being cut. We also can’t end FGM in the UK without ending it globally.”

A UK-funded programme in Sudan shows social acceptance of FGM has fallen an estimated 18% in the past two years.

Another five-year programme will also support in-country projects across Africa focusing on prevention, protection, education and legislation to stop FGM.

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