2m people at risk of female genital mutilation due to COVID-19, say UNICEF, UNFPA

NO fewer than two million additional cases of female genital mutilation have been projected to occur over the next decade due to COVID-19 disruptions.

This was revealed in a joint statement by Henrietta Fore, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) on Saturday, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

The duo stated that COVID-19 had contributed to the shutting down of schools and disruption in programmes that could help protect girls from this harmful practice.

“Even before COVID-19 upended progress, the Sustainable Development Goals target of ending female genital mutilation by 2030 was an ambitious commitment.”

The international bodies reiterated their commitment to protect the 4 million girls and women who were at risk of female genital mutilation each year.

“Far from dampening our ambition, however, the pandemic has sharpened our resolve to protect the 4 million girls and women who are at risk of female genital mutilation each year.”

The UNICEF and UNFPA bosses, however, highlighted the need for unity and collaborations among stakeholders in tackling the menace of female genital mutilation across the globe.

“Ending female genital mutilation requires collaboration among a wide group of stakeholders. This includes global, regional, national and local policymakers; civil society from small grass-roots organisations and women’s rights groups to international non-governmental organisations; agents of change from teachers and health workers to religious leaders and local elders; as well as law enforcement and judicial officials.’

They also stressed the crucial role needed to be played by men and boys in ending female genital mutilation, adding that there was a need to amplify the powerful and persuasive voices of survivors who were increasingly leading transformative change in their communities.

$2.4bn needed to end female genital mutilation by 2030

The UNICEF and UNFPA directors have also highlighted the need for adequate funding in tackling the burgeoning menace of female genital mutilation across the world.






     

     

    They stated that if the Sustainable Development Goals target of ending female genital mutilation by 2030 was to be met, some 2.4 billion dollars would be needed over the next decade.

    “Even in countries where female genital mutilation is already declining, progress needs to increase ten-fold to meet the global target of elimination by 2030. This will require some $2.4 billion over the next decade, which breaks down to less than $100 per girl.”

    They added that the money was needed to preserve the bodily integrity, health and right of a girl-child.

    “This is a very small price to pay for preserving a girl’s bodily integrity, her health and her right to say no to violation. However, most of this money has yet to be raised.”

    'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via [email protected]. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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