Britain to give £50m in bid to tackle female genital mutilation in Africa

Posted On: 
23rd November 2018

Britain is to spend £50 million to help tackle female genital mutilation in Africa.

Young men and women from the Sebei tribe in Kapchorwa, northeast Uganda, re-enact the ceremony they'd go through before circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM)
Credit: 
Sally Hayden / Sopa Images/Zuma Press/PA Images.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the package - the largest single investment by a government to date - was aimed at eradicating the practice worldwide by 2030.

FGM is a non-medical procedure where girl’s genitals are cut, often resulting in scarring, infection and death.

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Ministers said the funding will be used to support grassroots activists and survivors working in schools and communities throughout Africa in a bid to change perceptions about the use of FGM.

Under the plans, minister will also put pressure on governments in African states to outlaw the practice while working with religious leaders to dispel myths about the use of FGM as a religious custom.

Announcing the aid package, Ms 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.”

Ms Mordaunt said the funding would also have a positive impact in the UK, adding: “We can’t end FGM in the UK without ending it globally.”

Officials estimate that there are 24,000 women and girls in the UK at risk from FGM, but despite being made illegal in 1985, there has yet to be a conviction.

Anne Quesney, ActionAid’s senior women’s rights advocacy adviser, said the cash was a “vital effort” in ending the “extreme form of violence against women and girls”.

“From our work in nine African countries, we have seen how this life-threatening practice not only impacts on girls’ live and health, it limits their futures. Many girls never return to school and are forced into early marriage, for example.”

She added: “However, focusing on FGM alone is not enough. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread human rights abuses, affecting millions of women and girls worldwide and it happens because of deep rooted believes that they are inferior to men.”