Ending Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Female Genital Cutting (FGC) involve non-medical procedures that alter and cause injury to female genital organs. FGM/C is often carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and has occasionally been performed on adult women.
FGM/C is practiced in the Middle East and Asia, but it's most prevalent in Africa where an estimated 92 million girls over the age of 10 have undergone the procedure and an additional 3 million girls are at risk each year.
Health Complications from FGM/C
Most excisions are performed without the use anesthetic and as a result, the first experience is extreme, with unexpected pain. The most common immediate complication is excessive bleeding due to the accidental cutting of a major vein or artery.
Approximately 40 percent of women and girls experience severe side-effects from FGM/C. Some of these complications include:
- Complications during childbirth
- Serious infections such as HIV
- Abscesses/small benign tumors
- Hemorrhages and shock
- Clitoral cysts
- Various urinary tract infections
- Gynecological and obstetrics problems
- Maternal Death
About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
Female Genital Mutilation Violates Human Rights
Female Genital Mutilation constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
What is Plan Doing to End FGM/C?
Plan is committed to the elimination of female genital mutilation within a generation and is focusing on advocacy, research, and guidance for health professionals and health systems in the following countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Egypt, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan.
Plan's most recent work in Sudan aims to address the on-going problem of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting in White Nile State, Sudan. The country has made notable progress over the last ten years, but there remains a need to engage communities in the eradication of this harmful practice.
Plan will conduct a series of trainings and awareness-raising sessions that will target community leaders and family members. These trainings will strengthen the knowledge of religious leaders, community leaders, grandparents, and health workers in the benefits of eliminating the practice of FGM/C at a local level.
Communities will draw upon pre-existing social structures to engage with the wider community, building community ownership around this issue. Communities will build greater capacity in advocacy, calling on the government to take action on policy, leading to greater protection of young girls. These activities will contribute to overcoming traditional misconceptions about FGM/C and creating an environment that supports the rights of girls and children.
In addition to our work in our program countries, Plan is also working alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) to observe the UN-sponsored International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is observed on the 6th of February to raise awareness about the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and promote its eradication.
Ways to Help: