Africa

Egypt's fight against FGM

Published 11:34 AM ET, Mon February 6, 2017
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Despite banning female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2007, Egypt has among the highest rates of FGM in the world -- with 87 per cent of girls and women between 15-49 having suffered the painful procedure. Plan International works alongside some of the girls, men and women fighting FGM across the country -- these are their stories, as told to Plan's researchers. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
Malika was only 11 when she got circumcised. Her mother took her to the doctor late at night. She understood what was about to happen when she saw other girls shouting, crying and bleeding. Her family couldn't afford the additional 100 Egyptian pounds for the anaesthetic, so she was cut without it. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
Thirteen year-old Mariam was so distressed after the procedure she couldn't speak to her mother for a month. "I was crying all the time," she told the researchers. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
At only nine, Amel -- who dreams of being a lawyer one day -- is adamant not to be circumcised. "I would like to participate and get all my friends engaging to encourage my community against FGM, to raise their awareness and eradicate the practice from the whole world," she told Plan's researchers. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
Salwa, 37, did not have her daughters circumcised despite her mother-in-law's pressure. "I had a horrible experience when I was circumcised at the age of nine. I was injured, bleeding and hurting a lot." After attending classes raising awareness about the issue, Salwa convinced her husband not to have their girls cut, she told Plan International. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
Across the country, work shops and awareness sessions run by the government and organizations like Plan International and UNDPA teach men and women about the issues with FGM. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
Noha is a volunteer who runs awareness sessions on FGM at her local community development center in the village of Tamouh in Giza. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
Bayoumy Mostafa, law student and chair of Plan International's youth advisory group for Tamouh and Giza, is optimistic that Egypt can put an end to FGM. "We can succeed in eradicating FGM in ten years, but we need the community and government agencies to cooperate with each other," he said. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa
Mahmoud Marouf is a 20-year-old volunteer and peer-to-peer educator at the Tamouh community development association. He teaches both boys and girls about the procedure and its negative long-term impact, especially on marriages. "A lot of young men come to me and I broach the subject. Some accept it and others reject it, but I'll try several times until I convince them," he told Plan's researchers. Courtesy of Plan International / Heba Khalifa