On the Day of the Girl, 11th October, the Orchid Project highlighted the injustice of Female Genital Cutting, and how some communities are abandoning it around the world. This abuse affects over 200 million women and girls, with nearly 4 million girls at risk every year.
It is a global problem, with victims in dozens of countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and within diaspora communities in other countries. The European Commission estimates that at least 500,000 women in Europe have undergone this violation.
The Orchid Project is a UK-based NGO that is catalysing the global movement to end this horrific abuse. It works with grassroots organisations and lobbies governments and global leaders to ensure work to end FGC is prioritised. The Orchid Project says:
“Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is a harmful practice involving the full or partial removal, or injury to a girl’s external genitals. On average, girls are subjected to FGC before the age of five, although this varies between different communities and can happen at any time from a girl’s birth to her adolescence.
FGC is not an obligation of any religion and has no known health benefits. Far from it, the practice can cause long-lasting physical and psychological damage for more than 200 million women and girls who are affected worldwide. In some cases, this can include death.”
The Orchid Project has hundreds of online resources for anybody who wants to find out more about this problem and how to tackle it. Some examples are:
- Orchid Project Digital Leaflet 2018
- Joint Press Release – Ending FGM/C by 2030: Uniting forces to make FGM/C a practice of the past
- Lifelong impacts of female genital cutting (FGC)
- Long term health consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
- Psychological, social and sexual consequences of female genital mutilation/cutting: a review of quantitative studies
- Female Genital Mutilation programmes to date: what works and what doesn’t
- UN Resolution 73/149. Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation
- Framing the European Commission’s 10 Principles for Integrated Child Protection Systems in the context of Female Genital Mutilation
- Abandoning FGM/C: Guidelines for Parliamentarians
Ending Female Genital Cutting
The Orchid Project believes that communities must be empowered to end Female Genital Cutting. It says:
“One of the most effective ways to support sustainable abandonment of FGC is through non-judgemental, human rights-led approaches, allowing communities to choose to end the practice.
FGC is a deep-rooted social norm which is held in place by an entire community. Parents have their daughters cut because they believe it is the right thing to do to ensure their future, and because it is an expectation of the community. It is difficult for individual families to break with this tradition on their own, as they may risk their daughters becoming ostracised.
Change can be, and is being, achieved when communities come together to share their experiences of FGC, breaking the silence that often surrounds the practice. Locally-owned processes are helping communities worldwide to recognise that the practice is harmful.
Through these discussions, communities are accessing information about human rights and embracing their responsibility as community members to uphold them. And, as cutting is a discriminatory practice, long-term change is most often achieved where there is a particular focus on empowering women and girls.”
Find out more at the Orchid Project website.