Two million more cases of female genital mutilation may occur in the next decade as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to close and disrupted programmes that hitherto helped to protect girls from harmful practices, the United Nations has said.
According to a joint statement by the executive director of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore and that of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Natalia Kanem, on the 2021 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Gender Mutilation, only united and well-funded action could end this violation.
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“Far from dampening our ambition, however, the pandemic has sharpened our resolve to protect the four million girls and women who are at the risk of female gender mutilation each year,” they stated.
They said to end female mutilation there must be collaboration among stakeholders, which include global, regional, national and local policymakers, civil society, from small grassroots organisations and women’s rights groups, among others.
“This will require some $2.4 billion over the next decade, which breaks down to less than $100 per girl. This is a very small price to pay for preserving a girl’s bodily integrity, her health and right to say “no” to violation. However, most of this money has yet to be raised,” they stated.