International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

  • Date: 06/02/2019
  • Author: Jo-Ann Ward
  • Almost 2,700 women and girls living in Ireland still at risk of FGM

  • One year on from completing its first project against FGM in Ireland, ActionAid repeats call on government for more action to end FGM

Today, Wednesday 6th February, is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). On this day last year, ActionAid completed a two-year project working with women and girls in Cork at risk of FGM. At the time ActionAid gave recommendations on how to end FGM in Ireland, which have not yet been taken up.

Siobhán McGee, ActionAid Ireland CEO said: “Our project in Cork showed a clear gap in the coordination of services in Ireland and the immediate need for further government action to end FGM. Ireland has shown leadership and enacted the Criminal Justice (FGM) Act (2012) making FGM illegal in Ireland, and signed up to international agreements to abolish FGM, but more needs to be done to protect vulnerable women and girls.”

“Last year we called on the government to invest more in FGM prevention. While we wait for these recommendations to be taken up, almost 2,700 girls in Ireland remain at risk of FGM.”  She added.

Female Genital Mutilation refers to the partial or total destruction of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.  The practice poses serious health threats and is widely considered to be a violation of women’s human rights.


The project in Cork used a specialist approach to educate and empower women, girls and men to reject the harmful practice. Based on the findings of this project, ActionAid proposed the following recommendations to the Irish government:

  • Allocate a clear and sufficient budget for the implementation of the National Action Plan on Female Genital Mutilation, including the provision of specialised services, resources and trained professionals.
  • Improve and better coordinate FGM prevention and survivor support services that are integrated as part of general public services, in particular healthcare.
  • Implement government campaigns to raise awareness of the issue at national level.
  • Establish an Inter-Parliamentary working group to better coordinate services across all ministerial departments, including Justice, Health, Social Protection.

More about ActionAid’s project

The techniques used to inform and engage participants in the Cork project were drawn from ActionAid’s wealth of experience and success in reducing FGM in African communities, including projects in Kenya, funded by Irish Aid, where FGM has decreased by almost 30%.

You can learn more about the Cork project by watching this short video:

Heading photograph was taken during the graduation ceremony following the Cork project, which took place in February 2018.

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