Female genital mutilation is decreasing worldwide

New study proves that FGM is declining in 26 out of 30 affected countries

Waris Dirie with Desert Flower girls in Sierra Leone.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is on the decline worldwide, according to a recent study. The scientific journal PLOS Medicine found that in 26 out of 30 affected countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, the prevalence of this cruel practice has decreased in recent years. Click here to go directly to the study.

Among the reasons given for the decline are stricter laws and empowerment of women through more education. This means: our work is paying off. In 2016, the Desert Flower Foundation decided to focus more on education for girls and women in the fight against FGM. The new report by PLOS Medicine proves that we are on the right track with our decision.

"Education is the only way to eradicate FGM in the long term," our founder Waris Dirie is convinced. Education means a self-determined, more independent life for girls and women. Economically more independent women will not submit so quickly to the pressure of a community.

UNICEF expert Claudia Cappa confirms this: "Today, women have more access to education and the labour market. This also changes social norms. Ultimately, it's about strengthening the position of women in the countries concerned."

But there is still so much to do! While, according to the study, in Ethiopia, for example, the percentage of girls between zero and 14 years of age affected by FGM has fallen from almost 52 percent to 15.7 percent in the past 20 years, there has been an increase in African states such as Burkina-Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Somalia. According to the survey, Somalia in East Africa brings up the rear. There, 99.2 (!) percent of women are genitally mutilated.

Our mission is far from completed!

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