Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). These and other alarming figures were highlighted by the United Nations as they marked November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
FGM, which has been documented in 30 countries, mainly in Africa, as well as in the Middle East and Asia comprises all procedures that involve altering, injuring or removing the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
In an effort to tackle this problem, organisations like Amref Health Africa, Africa’s leading health development charity, together with grassroots campaigners, work with the most vulnerable African communities, particularly women and girls, across sub-Saharan Africa, ensuring they have the skills, confidence and knowledge to make decisions that will improve their health, and that of their community.
7DNews spoke to Amref Health Africa’s UK C.E.O. Camilla Knox-Peebles and FGM survivor Diram Duba about their advocacy and campaigns to end the practice of FGM and early marriages, pushing for change at national and international level.
Amref started the work in Kenya, amongst the Maasai communities and it has grown gradually with training programmes reaching Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Senegal. Their hope is to see a world free of violence, equality for women and girls and universal health coverage for all.
To find out more about Amref’s work go to : amrefuk.org