Credit: Philip Andrews/The Girl Generation

The Girl Generation to end FGM

The Girl Generation is a social change communications initiative, supported by DFID, which provides a global platform for galvanising, catalysing and amplifying the Africa-led movement to end female genital mutilation (FGM). The goal of The Girl Generation is to transform the social norms underpinning FGM so that it is brought to an end in one generation.

FGM is a harmful practice that has severe physical and psychological effects. For too long, it has been a neglected issue on the global agenda, and treated as a taboo subject. No country can achieve its full potential politically, socially or economically when half of its population is held back by extreme forms of discrimination. Ending FGM can be a catalyst for wider social change. Over the next ten years, more than 30 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM. After decades of work to end this practice, the momentum for change is growing. Across the African continent and around the world, people are coming together to abandon this form of violence against women and girls.

Options leads a consortium of partners (including Equality Now and Forward) who seek to inspire a collective of organisations and individuals across the most affected countries in Africa, and beyond, to end FGM in one generation. The unifying power of The Girl Generation brand is that it communicates the exceptional value of girls to their communities and countries, and invites many different people to be part of this generation where FGM ends. The Girl Generation supports campaigns to break the cycle and end FGM globally but with a particular focus on ten of the most affected countries on the African continent. Our team is led from Kenya, supported by a small core team in the UK, and focuses on Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and The Gambia.

Young people provide the inspiration for The Girl Generation. We recognise them as the future parents of the continent – and as critical actors in ending FGM. We have a vision of women and girls living healthy and empowered lives, with their fundamental human rights protected and opportunities to realise their potential. We support grassroots organisations to strengthen social change communications, building on The Girl Generation values and vision, and multiplying the message of hope it promotes. We catalyse and amplify voices, linking them together and to the wider global audience. We are building a critical mass for change, which will help to unlock regional, national and international commitments, to increase resources that can sustain and scale up these efforts, and end FGM in one generation.

We continually seek strategic leadership and guidance from African experts, including those who make up our Strategic Advisory Group. We are led by the priorities and contexts of our focal countries, with flexibility and responsiveness to local issues.

There are four core strategic areas of our work. These are:

  • Developing partnerships in order to build an Africa-led, global collective of organisations, working together to end FGM in a generation
  • Enabling social change communications so that partners effectively use social change communications to end FGM
  • Amplifying positive stories of change so that stories of change are communicated at local, national, regional and global levels
  • Catalysing global advocacy so that FGM is integrated in development policies and programmes and additional resources are leveraged to end it.

Project achievements

The Girl Generation was launched in October 2014.

  • We have engaged nearly 400 member organisations who are working to accelerate social change to end FGM.
  • We have driven forward advocacy efforts to lobby for the inclusion of FGM as a global indicator in the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • We have established three active youth networks in The Gambia, Kenya and Nigeria. These are driving forward their own action plans to end FGM with our ongoing support.
  • Our End FGM Grants Programme provides much-needed support to poorly resourced grassroots organisations working to end FGM.
  • We led a digital communications drive on the Day of Zero Tolerance to End FGM, focusing on the role of health professionals in ending FGM, and getting The Girl Generation brand known amongst a global audience.
  • We have provided training in social change communication to over 140 individuals representing member organisations in Kenya, Nigeria and The Gambia, including activists, youth, ambassadors and grantees from the End FGM Grants Programme.
  • In The Gambia, we have supported young people to create a safe space for dialogue and awareness-raising about FGM in communities, gaining extensive profile across national media.
  • In Kenya, we have conducted one of the first pieces of research on the attitudes of young men 

Quick facts

FGM is a global issue: at least 130 million women and girls are affected by FGM worldwide, and over 3 million are at risk every year

FGM is practised in at least 28 African countries

In 2012 the UN General Assembly adopted a global ban on FGM

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