The young members of the Uncut Girls’ Club are brave, dedicated and inspiring for taking a stand against a practice that many community members believe to be an important tradition.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as cutting, is deeply rooted in many cultures around the world. This practice puts the health, well-being, and in many cases the lives, of girls in jeopardy. Unfortunately, despite being illegal in many countries, more than 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM – many of whom are now living with the trauma and consequences of it.

With no health benefits, FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

So, how do you stop a harmful practice that’s so profoundly entrenched in cultural norms?

For this dedicated group of teenage girls, they’re tackling the issue of FGM in Ethiopia with the most powerful tool they have at their disposal – their voice.

Meet the Uncut Girls’ Club

According to UNICEF, Ethiopia is among the 29 countries where the practice of FGM is highly concentrated. Committed to protecting the rights of girls and women, Plan International is raising awareness in communities across rural Ethiopia to end child marriage, gender-based violence, and FGM.

Leading the charge to end FGM in Ethiopia are girls themselves! More than 50 girls have come together to form the Uncut Girls’ Club, where their goal is to educate their peers, encourage families to change their views on FGM, and speak up for girls’ rights within the community.

ALSO READ: Religious Leaders Standing up to End Gender-based Violence in Ethiopia

“FGM is part of our history, it was something we girls were looking forward to…In the past, my girlfriends and I used to chat about when and how our FGM would take place,” shared 16-year-old Lenteta. “When the people from Plan International explained to our class the consequences of FGM, I completely changed my mind.”

“When my friends and I decided to save ourselves from this monstrosity, we also decided we would help save other girls.”

Challenging Mindsets

The young members of the Uncut Girls’ Club are brave, dedicated and inspiring for taking a stand against a practice that many community members believe to be an important tradition.

“It is not always easy for us that everyone knows we are uncut,” shared Dorite. “Some people think that we are not clean.”

Continue reading this story on Plan Canada
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