Help stop female genital mutilation

Women and girls in the poverty-stricken Nyala, Sudan -- ruled by an Islamist regime since a 1989 coup -- are still subjected to the ancient tradition branded by human rights organizations as 'female genital mutilation or cutting'.

Story highlights

  • A 2013 UNICEF report revealed 3.6 million girls and women were affected by female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • The practice can cause health issues like infections, psychological trauma, painful scarring and even death
  • If nothing is done the number of women impacted could more double by 2050.
  • Charitable organizations have stepped in to provide medical treatment and education to empower women

Atlanta (CNN)A UNICEF report revealed in 2013, 3.6 million girls and women were affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). If nothing is done to stop it that number could more than double by 2050.

FGM is a cultural practice of partially or completely removing the external female genitalia to inhibit a woman's sexual desires, but it is widely seen as a human rights violation.
The practice can cause both short and long term health issues like infections, psychological trauma, painful scarring and even death.
Although FGM is becoming less common, and is banned in countries like Kenya, the practice remains rampant in many communities. Here are some ways you can help the women at risk of FGM.
  • U.N. Ambassador and FGM survivor, Waris Dirie established the Desert Flower Foundation. The organization operates centers which offer reconstructive surgery, gynecological and psychological care for FGM victims.
  • The Kenya Women Parliamentarian Association, with support from UNFPA/UNICEF joint program is using education to help people understand that forced female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights. This has contributed to increase in communities abandoning the practice.
  • Save The Children is working to shift the social norms that sustain the practice of FGM. They do this by empowering women and girls with education and access to income as well as increased access to sexual and reproductive information and services.
  • V day is a global movement to end violence against women. Through their campaign One Billion Rising, the organization supports several safe houses including Ntomonok and Sakutiek safe houses in Kenya. There, women are taught about self-reliance.
  • Worldvision is intervening in eight countries in West Africa by providing support services and teaching public health workers how to see the warning signs of FGM and pinpoint girls at risk.
  • Equality Now helps protect women and girls from FGM, as well as providing legal protections for the victims.