"Education YES, mutilation NO"
In 31 countries, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM) (according to data gathered by UNICEF). The UNHCR conducted a comprehensive study, in which EU Member States were encouraged to gather more systematic data into the connection between between asylum seekers and FGM survivors, as well those at risk of being subject to the practice. Among the study's conclusions, it was estimated that in 2011, as high as 61% of the women and girls seeking asylum in the EU 27 Member states, who were aged 14-64 and from FGM-practising countries, may have been affected by FGM.
By Marie Trapet
Although in the last two decades the proportion of girls and women who want the practice to stop has doubled, even in countries where the practice has become less common, progress would need to be at least 10 times faster than it actually is to be able to meet the global target of elimination by 2030. Such statistics demonstrates that the work towards the eradication of this practice is sadly far from over.
One of the most active organizations in the fight against FGM is Fundación Kirira. This non-partisan and non-denominational Spanish NGO has development projects in Kenya, where the prevalence rate of FGM is between 20% to 40% and, in some regions, is as high as 70%. Their main mission is the eradication of this practice and, more generally, to help improve the living conditions of the children that they work with.
The two founders of Fundación Kirira, Estrella Giménez and Gordiano Fernández, founded the organisation after travelling to Kenya to meet a young girl they had sponsored through the NGO Ayuda en Acción. While in Kenya, the devastating news reached them that some girls were going to be mutilated just a few kilometres from their campsite. They realised that they needed to take action. Therefore, they quickly established what would be their first project: the support group Kirira CBO (Community Base Organization) in Tharaka, a village in the northeast of Kenya.
From that moment on, the work Fundación Kirira has focused on educational campaigns that raise awareness of FGM, including its fatal consequences. Through education they also promote ending the practice completely.
Envisioning a long-term strategy of empowerment and “changing mentalities”, the work of Fundación Kirira develops around five core pillars:
1. Education (e.g., through the formation and sponsoring of anti-FGM clubs in local schools, and adding health campaigns to the educational program of local schools).
2. Infrastructures (e.g., the construction of classrooms, dormitories for children who live far away from their schools, as well as latrines, water tanks, kitchens and canteens, and the installation of solar panels in schools that support the campaigns of the NGO).
3. Shelter (e.g., the construction of a shelter and dormitories for orphaned children and FGM survivors and escapees).
4. Empowerment (e.g., microcredit projects promoting female empowerment and self-employment).
5. Humanitarian and emergency aid (e.g., providing emergency aid during times of famine, and carrying out rescue missions to save girls who are about to undergo FGM).
Moreover, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Fundación Kirira has been distributing PPE and water tanks in local communities, to prevent the spread of the virus.
We at Network for Migration Matters, are impressed by the tremendous work conducted by Fundación Kirira. Wewould like to wholeheartedly thank their team.
If you would like to find out more about Fundación Kirira, including how to get involved, please visit their website: https://www.fundacionkirira.es/ .
Video on the organization: https://www.fundacionkirira.es/
Documentary on the “Campaign against FGM in Africa”: https://youtu.be/Ux3l96J_ayk
Podcast on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4SSigP0lLJNuy5Al4YIQtD?si=l_2uXZwNSNyhsC8d5DhV0w&nd=1 .