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UK Government to Invest £35 million into ending Female Genital Cutting

UK Government to Invest £35 million into ending Female Genital Cutting

DFID Parliamentary Under-secretary of State Lynne Featherstone announced that the UK Government is to invest £35 million in a fund towards ending female genital cutting. This is the first time the figure has been disclosed.

Resources will be directed primarily towards overseas programmes, with money also set aside towards working with diaspora communities within the UK. The investment will aim to realise a 30% reduction in FGC prevalence in five years, and for FGC to end within a generation.

Orchid Project, a small UK charity with a vision of a world free from FGC welcomes this news. FGC is being abandoned both rapidly and sustainably at community level. In addition, in December 2012, the UN’s General Assembly passed a resolution towards ending FGC, which was put forward by the African Group. It is crucial to build on this groundswell of support from all levels.

Our advocacy work has focused on ensuring there are sufficient resources for this sector and we have campaigned tirelessly to get this result. Orchid Project CEO and Founder Julia Lalla-Maharah says:

‘We have been working towards this for two years, but never thought it would happen so quickly.’

‘A 30% reduction in 5 years is ambitious, but if ever there were a time for ambition, it is now. We know that thousands of communities in West Africa have already chosen to abandon FGC. They are spreading the word to their neighbours and the movement is growing. With concerted effort, political will and dedicated resource, the world could be free from FGC within a generation. We hope the UK’s remarkable commitment will allow others to support an end to this practice.’

The grassroots movement in Africa has seen over 6,500 communities abandon FGC since 1997. This movement is supported by our partner Tostan, is human rights led, involves whole communities and represents a long term solution that sees real and lasting change. Senegal, where over 5,500 communities have abandoned, can be FGC free by 2015.

If you are interested in covering this story, we are available to provide commentary and expert opinion where needed. We also have high-resolution visuals that can be reproduced, such as photographs (as attached) and infographics. If you do want any further comment, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will also call to follow up tomorrow.

  • Orchid Project is a UK-based NGO with a vision of a world free from female genital cutting. It partners, communicates and advocates to realise this vision. Orchid Project was founded in 2010 by CEO Julia Lalla-Maharajh and gained charitable status in 2011. For more information, go to:  www.orchidproject.org.
  • Female genital cutting (FGC) is the forcible removal of all or part of a girl’s external genitals and the average age of cutting is between the ages of 5 and 8. 140 million women and girls are living with the effects of FGC worldwide, while recent UNICEF research shows a further 30 million girls are at risk of being cut. FGC is not a religious issue and is not a requirement of any of the major religions; it is a social norm, held in place by a community.

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