On Thursday 3rd February 2022, The Girl Generation Programme (TGG) marked the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation with a round-table discussion about the UK government-funded programme, 'Support to the Africa-Led movement (ALM) to End FGM/C', held at the British High Commission in Nairobi.
This ambitious five-year initiative aims to achieve an accelerated reduction in the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C).
Support to the Africa-Led Movement to End FGM/C
This UK-government funded programme puts communities at the centre of efforts to reduce the prevalence of FGM/C in Kenya by 2025.
FGM/C is practised in more than 30 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and by diaspora communities in Europe, the Americas, and Australia. It is estimated that three million girls are at risk of undergoing the practice every year, and 200 million women and girls alive today have already been subjected to FGM/C.
In many communities, FGM/C marks the transition from girlhood to womanhood: once a girl is subjected to FGM, she is considered ready to be married and start a family. This often represents the end of her education. The impact of this on survivors’ physical and mental well-being is devastating, and life-long.
“This is a girl-centred programme: girls are placed at the heart of our programme design, implementation and evaluation,” said programme lead Jacinta Muteshi, speaking at the International Day of Zero Tolerence for Female Genital Mutilation round-table discussion in Nairobi. “The Africa-Led Movement to End FGM/C is stronger than ever, but it’s also facing significant new challenges: it is estimated that as a direct result of COVID-related movement restrictions, school closures, and economic pressures, an additional two million girls – many of them living in Africa – are at risk of being subjected to FGM/C in the next decade.”
The ALM programme continues the UK government’s commitment to ending FGM/C in Africa and worldwide. It builds on the successes of its predecessor, The Girl Generation, which ran from 2013 to 2018 and helped to connect 900 member organisations across ten countries, galvanising the world’s largest collective of activists aiming to end FGM/C in one generation. The new programme is implemented by a consortium of seven partners, each bringing a specific area of expertise – and all with deep links with communities and networks of activists across the continent.
FGM/C cannot be tackled as a standalone issue, we include it in the wider agenda of GBV because it is a form of gender-based violence and we are committed to ending this practice in Kenya.
H.E Jane Marriott, UK High Commissioner to Kenya, reiterated the UK’s commitment to ending FGM/C in Africa including Kenya by 2030, saying: “The UK has been a global leader in supporting the Africa-Led Movement to End FGM/C since 2013. We are so pleased to be supporting the Africa-Led Movement to End FGM/C which has the girl at the centre of its approach. This provides an opportunity to intensify these efforts, calling for new partners and setting higher ambitions to end FGM/C.”
The round-table discussion covered whether the upcoming [Kenyan] elections would impact commitments made by the government. “During the election process we should look at the manifestos by the electoral candidates, it should include a commitment to end FGM/C so that a momentum will be sustained,” said activist Macharia Karanja of the Youth Anti-FGM Network Kenya.
With continued support from governments and stakeholders, this new funding will support the Africa-Led Movement to End FGM/C with skills, resources, and mentorship over the next four years. This, in turn, will help girls across the continent to thrive and pursue their ambitions, envisioning a world where girls and women can exercise their power and rights, have expanded choice and agency, and be free from all forms of violence, including FGM/C.
About the Africa-Led Movement (ALM)
The UK Government (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – FCDO) has a vision of a world free from Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) by 2030, in line with the SDGs. It established a programme titled ‘Support to the Africa-led movement (ALM) to end FGM/C’ to contribute to global efforts to achieve that vision. Girls are placed at the heart of programme design, implementation and evaluation: since FGM/C is a practice that affects and impacts girls, this programme aims to centralise their voices.
The programme envisions a world where girls and women can exercise their power and rights, have expanded choice and agency, and be free from all forms of violence, including FGM/C. This programme will support and build the capacity of the ALM to end FGM/C at multiple levels and at scale, working in partnership with the rest of the FGM/C movement, complementing UN agencies (such as the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C), Saleema initiative, other alliances (such as Girls Not Brides etc.) and grassroots Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), women’s and girls’ movements, etc.
The programme includes two consortia working in close collaboration. Options Consultancy leads a consortium including Amref Health Africa, ActionAid UK, Orchid Project, ACCAF and the University of Portsmouth to implement the ‘Support to the ALM to End FGM/C’ programme. The Population Council is implementing ‘The FGM/C Data Hub: Data and Measurement Support to the ALM to end FGM/C’.
Header image © Jeroen van Loon.
Body images © The Girl Generation.