“When I learned about the consequences of genital mutilation, I decided that I would not agree to have my genitals mutilated. I told my parents how the mutilation will make childbirths more difficult. Young women in particular will have serious injuries and suffer from great pain when delivering babies. I asked my parents: Do you want me to live a healthy life or not?” explains Brianesh, a 13-year-old Ethiopian girl. The young human rights activist campaigns against female genital mutilation in her village and in her school.
It is estimated that up to 200 million girls and women have had their genitals at least partially mutilated. If there is no end to this custom, an additional 15 million girls will experience the same by the year 2030. Non-governmental organizations receiving Finnish development cooperation funding, such as Save the Children Finland, Plan International Finland, the International Solidarity Foundation, FELM and World Vision are working to end female genital mutilation. In some of the areas where these organizations are operating, more than 90 per cent of girls have avoided genital mutilation. Such UN organizations as UN Women, UNICEF and UNFPA are also calling for zero tolerance for female genital mutilation. Finland is one of the largest contributors to the general operations of UN Women and UNFPA.
Photo: Meeri Koutaniemi, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta