Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; Browser has a deprecated constructor in /home1/lafrater/public_html/lafgorg/plugins/system/jat3/jat3/core/libs/browser.php on line 39

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; JAT3_AdminUtil has a deprecated constructor in /home1/lafrater/public_html/lafgorg/plugins/system/jat3/jat3/core/admin/util.php on line 21
FGM is now considered child abuse, but where is the funding? - La Fraternite


caring minds | helping hands | changing lives

FGM is now considered child abuse, but where is the funding?

Despite death threats and intimidation, African women are working tirelessly to eradicate female genital mutilation on the ground. But not enough funding is getting though.

Founder of the movement to end FGM, the late Efua Dorkenoo OBE. Photograph: James Drew Turner/for the Guardian

With over 200 million women and girls affected around the world, ending female genital mutilation (FGM) takes enormous dedication, perseverance – and funding. In 2013, the UK Department for International Development’s pledge of £35m on the African continent was the largest amount to date by any individual donor to end FGM. However, it is unclear how much of this is reaching those activists who are leading social change efforts on the frontline. 

I started campaigning on the issue in the early 1990s, along with a brilliant founder of the movement to end FGM, the late Efua Dorkenoo OBE and since then, although funding has increased for international management and evaluation, it has barely increased for those groups who are successfully ending the practice in their localities.

I met Efua first in London in a small office in Covent Garden at a time when she was starting to have success in changing the perception of cutting as a human rights violation. At her recommendation we set up an anti-FGM fund for African organisations, which helped support their efforts for over a decade – a concept which I built on when setting up the Efua Dorkenoo Fund at Donor Direct Action.

Efua put me in touch with women on the African continent who were slowly building up the grassroots anti-FGM movement. These activists had a clear message that change is most sustainable when it comes from local experts. Since then, thanks in large part to their combined efforts over many decades, as well as significantly increased media attention – including in this newspaper – FGM is no longer considered a cultural practice which girls should endure.

But funding for those women and men doing life-changing work at local level is still minuscule. The UK’s much-needed £35 million is dwarfed for example by the $34 billion pledged by the US administration to tackle Aids. It is imperative too that existing funding streams do not get used up at international level on management and evaluation of programmes, but rather lead to those groups and individuals such as Agnes Pareyio in Kenya and Hawa Aden Mohamed in Somalia, who have risked their lives to ensure that girls at risk are protected.

Pareyio underwent the procedure as a child and has dedicated her life to ensure it ends in Kenya. She was known as the women with the wooden vagina in the 1980s when she travelled throughout the Maasai territory showing Kenyans the harmful physical effects of this abuse of girls and women. She received regular death threats from people who were not used to talking about sexuality and anatomy. In 1999, Agnes set up the Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative (TNI), a rescue centre for girls running away from FGM. Since then, it has held over two dozen reconciliation ceremonies where girls are reunited with their families.

Her work has paid off. Kenya is now leading the way in terms of ending FGM. The government is engaged and has set up an anti-FGM board and dedicated helpline for girls at risk. According to the most recent figures from the Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey the country has reduced prevalence from over 40% for middle-aged women to just 11% for adolescent girls. However, at this tipping point, local efforts are even more important than ever. TNI and other local organisations need hugely increased funding to be able to reduce prevalence in Kenya to zero.

The same year Agnes founded her organisation in Kenya, in Somalia, Hawa Aden Mohamed co-founded her organisation, the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development, having lost her sister who died as a result of FGM. The school teaches over 2,000 disadvantaged girls and helps protect girls at risk. According to Unicef, progress on ending FGM there is proving to be extremely challenging, with 97% of adolescent girls affected. However, a recent commitment by the Somali government at the first ever national forum is a positive indication that things may finally be changing.

The last few years has also seen younger African-born activists join the growing movement around the world too. In The Gambia and US, Jaha Dukureh has won hearts and minds. In the UK, women such as Nimco AliAlimatu Dimonekene and Leyla Hussein have done the same and helped to re-frame FGM as child abuse. It continues to be a perilous task, but with so much positive momentum we are getting ever closer to a future free from FGM. As Efua often said: “With humility and strength, you can achieve anything. But funding helps too.”

Jessica Neuwirth is co-founder of Donor Direct Action, an organisation which partners with frontline women’s rights groups around the world. She is president of the US Equal Rights Amendment coalition and one of the founders of Equality Now, an international human rights organisation. She is a former graduate of Harvard Law School, where she has taught international women’s rights

Source: Guardian UK.

Get in touch...

Do you need some help? Would like to speak to someone in confidence? Call us in confidence on ‎07946 366 916.


FGM Seminar - 28 Jan. 2017 in London

Join us on Saturday 28 January 2017 in South London from 1pm to learn about FGM and share experiences.

Special Guests include: NHS England, Lambeth Council, Southwark Council, Home Office, Guardian UK, Metropolitan Police.

Special Speakers include: Leyla Hussain (survivor and campaigner), Mama Sylla (survivor and campaigner), Sheick Bailo Barry (Imam).

The Guinean Embassy and the Guinean Community in the UK.

 donate volunteer support Fraternite

Female Genital Mutilation is a crime targeted solely to young girls and women. It must end.

_ Mama Sylla, Chairwoman of La Fraternite.

Alarming data

After Somalia (98%), the Republic of Guinea is the second country in the world where the prevalence of FGM is the highest: 97% (UNICEF, 2016).

Although the practice has been banned in Guinea since 1965, 97% of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years have undergone FGM. Let's end FGM!

FGM priorities

1. Raising awareness
Holding regular awareness forums and seminars.
2. Involving men/women
Involving community leaders, religious leaders and professionals.
3. Listening, Learning and Helping style
Listening to survivors; learning from their experiences; supporting them.

Modus operandi

- Provides advocacy, advice and information
- Makes grants to organisations
- Acts as an umbrella or resource body

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What is FGM/C?

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, 1997).


In Guinea

La Fraternite works with active organisations in different parts of Guinea as a resource body to help tacle social issues.

in collaboration

La Fraternite works with several other organisations:

  • ProjectACEi
  • Hawa Trust
  • Daughters of Eve
  • Manor Garden
  • BECA
  • MIA
  • CGA-UK
  • Guinean Community.

Top Video


Our Podcast

Audio Listen to our latest podcasts... (coming soon)

Established in 2007

We are a charity registered in England & Wales: 1135690.

Have a question?

Do you have a question? We are here to listen and support you.