As the world celebrated the Zero Tolerance FGM day on 6th February, five girls were busy finishing up on their I-cut app. The girls; Macrine Akinyi, Cynthia Awour, Purity Achieng, Stacy Owino and Dorcas Adhiambo, were nominated for the Sakharov Award Ceremony at the European Union parliament. The I-cut app will hit the app stores in March 2020.
The girls aged between 18 and 19 created the app during a Technovation competition. The competition tasked the girls to come up with a technical solution for a community-based problem. Purity Achieng said that FGM is one of the challenges that could be easily eradicated by the use of technology. The crew of five named themselves ‘Restorers’
The I-cut app allows users to choose from five main options; Help, Rescue, Report, Information on FGM and, donate and feedback. They also have an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data version of the app version for places without an internet connection.
Tony Mwebia, founder of Men and FGM movement, said that he is concerned because illiteracy level will put a step back to the purposed function of the application. However, he is hopeful that, that is something they will be able to overcome.
Over 70,000 women are victims of the cut in Germany. More 17,000 young girls are at risk of undergoing it. Dr Cornelia Strunz said that; the numbers of FGM cases in Germany are rising due to migration from countries dubbed as ‘the FGM zone’, Asian, African and Islamic countries.
Dr Cornelia went on to advise the women and girls who have undergone the cut to have another surgery and reverse the damage.
She also added that; apart from the passing urine and menstrual flow problems, women can also develop a fistula. Fistula is the connection of two body parts which should not exist together under normal circumstances. Dr Cornelia gave an example of a link between the vagina and the rectum, leading the girls to pass stools through the vagina.
Charlotte Weil of Women’s right charity said that; many teachers are not well informed and that, they hardly recognize the signs of a girl who has undergone the procedure. She said that they hardly know how to approach the issue in a sensitive manner. Charlotte went on to add that a thousand-year tradition could take more than a few years to abolish.
According to an analysis by UNICEF, one in every four girls who have undergone FGM were cut by health personnel. Executive Director of UNICEF Henrietta Fore said that a doctor sanctioned mutilation is still mutilation and that medicalizing the practice does not make it morally correct or safe.
Medicalized FGM is prevalent in Egypt and Sudan. Henrietta Fore said that the first step in ending FGM is changing people’s minds.