International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
Every year around the world, about two million young girls are forced to endure female genital mutilation (FGM).
The ritual—practiced in as many as 28 African countries, as well as in some countries in the Middle East, Asia and South America—varies among communities in its severity, the age of girls, and the method used to circumcise. Most of the time, FGM is linked to traditional coming-of-age practices.
Today, February 6th, is the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.
According to the UN, “FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The practice of FGM has no health benefits, causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences. It is mostly carried out by traditional providers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths.”
While FGM is a violation of the most fundamental rights to security and protection for girl children, the approach to ending the practice is not a simple one. Culturally sensitive education that empowers local communities to reach their own decisions about FGM is the key.
World Vision is working to end FGM in the following ways:
- Religious and community leaders play an integral part in helping stop FGM in their communities. World Vision works with these local leaders to help raise awareness of FGM’s negative consequences and identify alternative rites of passage that are culturally appropriate and are not harmful.
- World Vision works with the women who perform FGM to find alternative sources of income, such as raising sheep or goats, so that these women no longer need to rely on FGM to earn their living.
- World Vision staff members produce and distributes materials such as posters, T-shirts, and badges, and use drama groups to educate girls on the dangerous effects of FGM.