Female genital mutilation affects 200 million girls and women worldwide. But in Ethiopia, Bogaletch Gebre’s nonprofit has reduced FGM in one region from 97% to 3% by working within communities.

By Amy Yee (Pulitzer Center) |

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a brutal practice that affects 200 million girls and women worldwide. A growing movement to end FGM has gained momentum and laws have been passed in Egypt, Nigeria, the UK and other countries. Yet in many countries where FGM was banned, it is still practiced. Real change has to come from the ground up, from within communities.

In this project, journalist Amy Yee looks at the pioneering work of Bogaletch Gebre of Ethiopia. Bogaletch Gebre founded a nonprofit called KMG that helped reduce the incidence of FGM from 97 percent to 3 percent in her home region of Kembatta Tembaro. This happened through on-the-ground outreach and working within communities.

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Bogaletch Gebre underwent FGM herself as a girl; her sister died from it. As a girl, her father opposed her going to school but she went anyway. Bogaletch Gebre eventually went on to be a Fulbright scholar in the US and started a PhD in California. It was only in the US that she learned more about FGM since it was a taboo subject in Ethiopia. Incensed, she returned home and made combating FGM her life’s work.

KMG is now expanding its work to other parts of Ethiopia. This project looks closely at KMG’s work and why and how it was successful. It also tells the stories of girls, mothers, fathers, community leaders and others who made this change possible.

Source: Pulitzer Center
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