Home » Women and Girls » Urgent global action is required to end female genital mutilation/cutting

Kimberley Ellis

Communications Manager, Orchid Project

Female genital mutilation or cutting negatively affects the lives of hundreds of millions of women and girls around the world. We are calling for a global summit that will commit the funding needed to end this practice. 

FGM/C stands for female genital mutilation or cutting, which is the partial or total removal or injury to a woman’s or girl’s genitals. It is a social and gender norm held in place by entire communities.  

Kimberley Ellis, Communications Manager at Orchid Project says: “There are more than 200 million women and girls living with this practice, which happens on every continent, except Antarctica.”  

“It can cause death at the time of the cut or from infections. Later on, it can cause numerous physical and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.” 

Calling for a global summit 

“Even though the world has committed to ending FGM/C by 2030 under the sustainable development goal 5, the ambition has not been realised. To accelerate progress, Orchid Project, in partnership with the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C, is calling for an urgent global summit to secure financial commitments to end the practice.  

It is essential for investments to come from a variety of sources — from multilateral donors, philanthropists and the private sector, in addition to resources from national governments.   

Out of USD 2.4 billion needed to end the practice in 31 high-prevalence countries, only USD 275 million in development assistance has been secured. This leaves a funding gap of USD 2.1 billion and does not include funding for other countries, particularly those in Asia and the Middle East.                                                                               

“Additionally, the World Health Organisation has calculated that it costs about USD 1.4 billion a year to treat the health complications for survivors of FGM/C. If the practice were eliminated, women’s and girls’ lives would be transformed and billions could be saved,” Ellis explains.      

The practice is rooted in patriarchy and unequal power relations between women and men, girls and boys.  

Working together to end FGM/C 

As a single-issue organisation that was set up in 2010 to end FGM/C, Orchid Project advocates for change, delivers research, shares knowledge and partners with grassroots organisations who work in practising communities. 

Ellis adds: “The practice is rooted in patriarchy and unequal power relations between women and men, girls and boys. That is why there is a need to adopt a gender-transformative approach to ending FGM/C.” 

“Governments and other key stakeholders, in turn, need to step up their efforts to finance grassroots organisations’ work so that we can collectively end the practice.”  

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