The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation takes place on 6 th February. More than 15 years after its inception, the day remains a vital moment to heighten awareness of this harmful cultural practise that robs girls and women of their right to health and serves as a persistent form of gender- based violence and discrimination.
Jaha Dukureh , a survivor of FGM herself, founded Safe Hands for Girls to bring about an end to FGM and Child Marriage by 2030 and has gained global accolades for her tireless advocacy. This year Jaha will be joined in an awareness raising campaign by the Guinness World Record holder for body modification and gender-based violence activist, Maria José Cristerna (aka Vampire Woman), and world famous London-based tattoo artist and activist Grace Neutral .
Together, these three women will call to put an end to this violence, affecting hundreds of millions of girls and women around the world, using the hashtag #EndFGM.
The campaign seeks to denounce the unwanted and unwarranted body modifications that FGM represents. According to UNICEF, 200 million women worldwide have undergone FGM, usually as very young girls, and suffer the lifelong negative health impacts. A further 50 million girls are at risk of FGM by 2030 if this practice is allowed to continue. without having decided to do so: female genital mutilation.
The campaign film will be shot in Paris on 25 th January with the support of ad agency, McCann. Jaha Dukureh, Grace Neutral and Maria Jose Cristerna will all be in Paris for filming.
About Jaha Dukureh
In recognition of the pivotal role Jaha has played in advocating for governments to ban FGM, she is UN Women’s Regional Ambassador for Africa and is a Leader of the UN’s Generation Equality initiative, coordinated by Mexico and France during 2020, the 25 th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration for Gender Equality. Jaha was nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. Jaha has become a figurehead in the fight to eradicate female genital mutilation and child marriage throughout the world by 2030. Her work has resulted in policy bans in her native Gambia, as well as in diaspora countries including the USA and UK. Jaha is a founding leader of The NewNow , a group of rising global leaders tackling some of our greatest challenges together.
About the fight to #EndFGM
The negative health and psychological impacts of FGM are borne by 200 million women, and a further 50 million girls are at risk of becoming victim. Some countries have seen up to 10% reductions in the practice of FGM through policy-led approaches, yet FGM still impacts between 15% and 95% of girls in 20 African countries, and change remains elusive in many. In Sudan, Mali, Djibouti and Sierra Leone the majority of girls are subjected to this form of violence. About 4 in 5 FGM procedures are conducted by traditional cutters.
In 2015 all countries agreed to end FGM by 2030 through the Sustainable Development Goals, yet financing for grassroots awareness and education lags, hindering the achievement of this ambition.