What is Female Genital Mutilation or FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a form of physical violence against women and girls, which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is globally recognized as a violation of human rights but still carried around the world, even in civilized cities, as it is linked to old cultural beliefs. 

The procedure of FGM also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision causes severe bleeding and infection, infertility and even death. It is seen as a form of torture which has devastating physical, psychological, and social consequences for the rest of girls’ lives. According to the Central Statistics Office, over 6,000 women and girls in Ireland are survivors of FGM, and there are an estimated 1,600 deemed at-risk. This figure is likely to be an underestimate. 

You could help end this brutal practice with a monthly donation.

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Pauline was only 10 years old when she was ‘cut’

Pauline was only 10 years old when she was ‘cut’, a term often used to describe the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on young girls.

“I did not even know which part of the body was cut”, she tells us.

When she was 12, Pauline was forced to marry a man old enough to be her father. The next year, at just 13, she became pregnant. She now has a little baby girl to look after and is trapped in a cycle of poverty.

Unfortunately, Pauline’s story is not alone. Right now, the U.N predicts that an additional 2 million girls are at risk of undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the next decade as school closures continue amid Covid-19 restrictions and girls are at home.

Help vulnerable girls escape from FGM

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€12 a month

€12 a month could help run safe spaces, teaching girls about the dangers of FGM and their rights to refuse it.

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€8 a month

€8 a month could help run men’s forums, teaching men and boys the dangers of FGM and how to help end it.

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€5 a month

€5 a month could train a school teacher to be fully knowledgeable about FGM and its risks, and learn how to stop it

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Amina, a midwife from Kenya who is fighting FGM

“One day I went up to check on this particular newborn, I find her surrounded by some women and I’m stunned, so I ask the women involved what the problem should be. They assure me that nothing serious is happening, but my instincts assure me that there must be something wrong. It was then that I realised they wanted to carry out FGM on the 4-day old baby and had to stop them, I threatened to report the matter to the area chief for them to testify that indeed they were not to carry out the illegal activity.” 

Amina Adhman is a midwife and works in Taveta, Kenya. She is one of the women who has been empowered to end FGM, by attending training organised by ActionAid.

Thanks to our supporters, ActionAid Women’s Groups operate in local communities and work with both men and women to help them identify the harmful impacts of FGM and empower them to reject this torture. 

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Amina Adhman

How ActionAid is helping fight against FGM

As well as providing safe houses for at-risk girls, ActionAid is working at local and national level by teaching girls, women, and men about the dangers of FGM and how to tackle its root causes and holding the government accountable for implementing and improving the legislation. 

Thanks to our supporters, so far, we have reached 6,000 women directly and 60,000 indirectly through supporting structures, pressure groups and education programs. 

You have the power today to change the life of a girl facing this nightmare.

Will you give a monthly donation to help a child like Pauline escape FGM and forced marriage?

How your donation will be used

Every donation counts, and we’re grateful for whatever you can afford. A one-off donation is a fantastic start, but it’s crucial we can be there for women in the long term — whatever it takes. From creating safe spaces for women and children in conflicts to making sure women are part of essential crisis-response decision-making, your support could transform entire communities and save lives.

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