International Day against FGM

February 6th marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The traditional procedure of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is a harmful process, outlawed by many African and Asian countries, including Kenya where Atlas Project Team Talk operates. 

There is no medical benefit for young girls and women who undergo FGM, most from the ages of infancy to 15. Instead it is a demanded practice by many men in rural tribes who find cut girls more desirable than uncut, and families who think it will improve the chances of their daughters finding marriage. Some girls are socialised into believing they must have the procedure; others are just taken away to have it done. Nearly all girls have long-lasting health implications and detrimental effects on their education.

Atlas partner, Team Talk, are operating in the rural kenyan communities where this practice happens. With Atlas' help, they are empowering local girls to understand their rights to their bodies and to make their own decisions towards social norms and practices. They also educate young boys to respect girls and women, helping them to cherish the girls rather than see them as inferior people.

Through the years, Team Talk has helped over 717 girls to thrive, countering the misogynistic and cultural attitudes that have become normalised over the years.

Although a long way is still to go, Atlas and our partners are committed to supporting young girls and women to gain the respect they deserve, stay in education, and empower themselves and each other. In addition to physical and mental health implications, girls who have undergone FGM normally leave school and education, becoming married off and leaving their dreams behind to start families. But Atlas is changing this, with Team Talk, we are reaching children young, ending the socialised norms early and helping to stop these traditional cycles of pain for young girls.