11 October, is the International Day of the Girl Child. I can think of no better way to mark this important day than by the launch of The Girl Generation, the Africa-led global campaign to end FGM in a generation.
More than 125 million girls worldwide are affected by FGM, and it is one of the gravest human rights violations of our time. This issue has been neglected internationally for far too long, and for too long we have failed every girl who has undergone this horrific practice. While it seems like the momentum to end FGM skyrocketed into the media spotlight overnight, this campaign has been decades in the making. Ending FGM is incredibly urgent, and it is estimated that more than 30 million girls are at risk over the next decade on the African continent alone. Here in the UK, over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk each year.
We can and must end FGM in a generation.
Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism for girls' right to an education. Last month, Emma Watson delivered a powerful speech on feminism to the UN aimed at galvanizing men and boys to be advocates for ending gender inequality. In July, London hosted the Girl Summit, the world's first global conference aimed at mobilizing efforts to end FGM and Child Marriage. It seems empowering girls has finally earned a spot on the world stage. We've reached a critical window of opportunity, and we must act now while the momentum is high.
While the movement to end FGM has been growing for years, it never had a global identity until now. The Girl Generation will bring together campaigners from all over the world to push for change more effectively. The campaign will support advocacy work to drive social and behavioral change in ten African countries, starting in Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria. Stories of change will be brought to a global audience, and media campaigns will be launched. The Girl Generation will also work with the African Diaspora to support efforts to end FGM in their countries of origin. The movement to end FGM urgently needs an increase in financial commitments, and the Girl Generation will mobilize resources to end FGM in a generation.
I hope that you celebrated the International Day of the Girl by joining our campaign. Together, we end FGM.
To be a part of this movement and learn more about the Girl Generation, sign up at www.thegirlgeneration.org.
Follow The Girl Generation on Twitter @girlgen
"Like" our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/TheGirlGen
The Girl Generation combines the expertise of human rights organisations, Equality Now and Forward, communications company Ogilvy & Mather Africa, with management and technical oversight by Options. It is funded by the UK Department for International Development.