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Kenyan anti-FGM campaigners and innovators The “Restorers” visit Parliament

18 December 2019

Kenyan anti-FGM campaigners and innovators The “Restorers” visit Parliament

Nominated by ECR Group for 2019 Sakharov Prize, the Kenyan Students are attending the European Parliament this week in Strasbourg

The Restorers are 5 Kenyan students who have developed an app to help fight female genital mutilation (FGM). After being nominated for the Parliament’s annual EU-Sakharov prize they were eventually shortlisted for the final award.

This week, at the invitation of the European Parliament, the young women are in Strasbourg where they were received by the ECR Group and our Flemish MEP Assita Kanko.

They call the app they developed ‘I-Cut’ and it enables girls at risk of genital mutilation to get help quickly and in different ways. I-Cut allows girls who are in an emergency situation to request help from the police or from a medical aid post in the event of imminently undergoing FGM. They have five different buttons on the app: ‘help’, ‘rescue’, ‘report’, ‘information on Female Genital Mutilation’ and ‘donate and feedback’.

Speaking during the visit, Kanko said:

“The app has the potential to help a lot of girls and it brings even more attention to the gruesome practice of female genital mutilation. I hope that the app will be used by threatened girls and women all over the world. ”

The MEP has also recently initiated first contact between the Restorers and Facebook, to try and help raise awareness of the app.

According to the World Health Organization, three million young girls worldwide are at risk every year. Currently, 200 million girls and women worldwide have to live with the terrible consequences of FGM. This practice remains widespread in Africa, Asia and the Middle East in particular, but thousands of girls are also at risk in the EU.

Assita Kanko, who is a survivor of genital mutilation in her native Burkina Faso at the age of 5, wants to keep the problem high on the agenda. That is why she also successfully supported a debate in the European Parliament on this, which will be followed up with a resolution in the new year to coincide with the UN day for Zero Tolerance to FGM.

Kanko concluded:

“Parliament should adopt a position that helps the EU send strong signal that there is no place for female genital mutilation in our global society.”

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