The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Julia Lalla-Maharajh Headshot

UK Government to Announce Historic Investment to End Female Genital Cutting

Posted: Updated:

According to today's Sunday Times (which I'm reading online in New York!) the UK Prime Minister will make an announcement of an historic investment towards ending female genital cutting (FGC) on Friday 8 March - International Women's Day.

The report in the Sunday Times states that: "Lynne Featherstone, the international development minister with responsibility for women, is to lead the international drive to eradicate FGM. She believes it can be reduced by 30% in five years and abolished as a cultural norm within a generation".

Following the UN General Assembly's resolution towards ending FGC in December, for David Cameron to profile ending FGC in this way and give it resources it needs is truly extraordinary. A 30% reduction in five years is very ambitious, but if ever there were a time for ambition and big gestures, it is now.

I set up Orchid Project as a charity dedicated to a vision of a world free from female genital cutting within a generation; this is an issue that affects 130 million women and girls worldwide. This ambition is one stated across our literature, and was first told to us by UNFPA Director Dr Nafy Diop. We have always felt it perfectly summarises the realities of FGC.

I am here in New York for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and we expect Lynne Featherstone, the DFID Minister, to announce the commitment on Tuesday. Given the theme of this CSW is 'Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls', there is no more appropriate forum.

Change is possible, and female genital cutting can end within our lifetime.