On 14th October, i'll be running 13.1 miles of the Royal Parks Half Marathon, in aid of Orchid Project - a charity with a vision of a world free from female genital cutting (FGC) , and also my employer!
FGC is a harmful practice which involves the removal of a girl's external genitals. It impacts at least 200 million women and girls in 45 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and within diaspora communities around the world. FGC is a human rights violation that can cause a lifetime of physical and psychological consequences include haemorrhage, complicated births, and PTSD.
FGC is a social norm held in place by a whole community. Parents have their daughters cut because they believe it is the right thing to do to ensure social acceptance, and their futures.
But there's good news. With the support of grassroots organisations, change is happening. In countries like Senegal and Kenya, communities are choosing to abandon FGC with the support of human rights-led, non-judgmental approaches. This allows empowered communities to make a decision together to leave harmful practices behind.
Orchid Project is a catalyst to this work. We partner at the grassroots, share best practice and advocate for the prioritisation of ending FGC.
UNFPA estimates that unless efforts are accelerated, a further 68 million girls will be cut between 2015 and 2030. It's vital that we continue this work to ensure girls and future generations do not have to live with the often devastating impacts of FGC.
Please be part of the movement to end FGC by supporting me in my half marathon with whatever you can afford. If you cannot afford to donate, please share this page with family and friends who might be able to offer a donation, or take a look at orchidproject.org to learn more about FGC and how it can end.