I am powerful: Girls around the world stand up against FGM
6 February 2018
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced around the world, despite the risk of haemorrhage, infection and even death. But girls are rising up against this practice. In Egypt, 14-year-old Haneen is an advocate for ending FGM. Luca Zordan for UNFPA

  • In many places, FGM and child marriage are linked. In Ethiopia, Sofia Hussen experienced both. Now 18, she uses her own story to call for change. “I am a living example,” she said. Luca Zordan for UNFPA

  • Sharleen Cherop, 17, in Kenya, fled both FGM and child marriage. “I refused,” she said, recalling how she ran away from home to escape. She found refuge at a school, and is now an advocate for children’s rights. Luca Zordan for UNFPA

  • Anissa, 15, is a Syrian refugee in Egypt. FGM is not traditionally practiced in Syria, but some refugees have adopted the practice in Egypt, where it is widespread. Anissa works with the youth group Y-Peer to help end FGM. Luca Zordan for UNFPA

  • In Burkina Faso, Latifatou Compaoré, 14, was inspired by her mother to call for the elimination of FGM. She recorded a song about the subject, which has been played on national television and radio. Luca Zordan for UNFPA

  • In Ethiopia, Fatuma Abdu participates in a UNFPA-supported adolescent girls’ group that discusses the subject. “I teach my family and other community member the cause and effects of FGM.” Luca Zordan for UNFPA

  • Tabitha Marwa, 15, in Kenya, avoided FGM with support from her parents, but the backlash from her community was severe. For her safety, she was sent to a rescue centre. Today, she is a role model for other girls. Luca Zordan for UNFPA

  • Fatmah, in Egypt, learned about the consequences of FGM from her mother. Today, at 13, Fatmah encourages people to reject the practice. “FGM is wrong and it has lots of harms,” she said. “I convinced my sister not to cut her kids.” Luca Zordan for UNFPA

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