U.K. Pledge Of £50 To End FGM In Africa Should Spur Other Governments To Act Worldwide

Devex: Opinion: U.K.’s commitment to end FGM is vital — but we must look beyond Africa
Julia Lalla-Maharajh, founder of the Orchid Project

“Last week, the United Kingdom government made a historic commitment aimed at ending female genital cutting across Africa by 2030. According to the government, the £50 million ($64 million) investment is the largest ever put toward the issue by an international donor. … Put simply, the U.K. government is doing what is right for women’s bodies; and we are one step closer to achieving a world free from female genital cutting. … What brings me great hope on first looking at this package of funding is that it seems to be truly holistic in nature. DFID recognizes female genital cutting as a social norm, held in place by a confluence of different actors and expectations. … Equally inspiring is the scale of this funding. … What we have yet to see is which countries will be eligible for funding, and what DFID’s commitment to supporting work at the grassroots actually means in practice. While this is fantastic news for the Africa-led movement to end female genital cutting, we are still missing large-scale recognition that the practice takes place outside Africa, in the Middle East, and Asia … I hope that this is the first major step by governments around the world to prioritize women’s and girls’ bodies, rights, sexuality, and health, so that all girls everywhere can live free from female genital cutting” (11/28).