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Change a girl's life.

Definition of FGM

Female genital mutilation refers to the practice of alter[ing] or injur[ing] a girl’s genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is universally recognized as a human rights violation, and a form of gender-based violence. It is sometimes referred to as female circumcision, but this term tends to be viewed as equivalent to male circumcision, and does not fully encapsulate the gravity of the situation, nor its status as a human rights violation. Some women who have gone through the practice prefer the term female genital cutting or circumcision, as it is less triggering than ‘mutilation’.


There are four types of FGM according to the WHO:

Infographic made by Mekuno Project showing the four types of FGM, describing each one. It reads: Type 1: Clitoridectomy: This involves the partial or complete removal of the clitoris and/or clitoral hood.
Type 2: Excision: This involves the partial or complete removal of the clitoris and the removal of the labia minora, with or without the removal of the labia majora.
Type 3: Infibulation: This involves the partial or complete narrowing of the vaginal opening, with or without the removal of the clitoris.
Type 4: Other: This involves any other harmful non-medical procedures, including but not limited to cauterizing, piercing, pricking, incising, and scraping.

Types 1 and 2 are the most common, with Type 3 primarily being practiced in Somalia, Sudan, and Djibouti, affecting 10% of all women who undergo FGM. Type 3 is the most dangerous, as it not only leads to high rates of infection because it leaves only a small hole for both urine and menstrual fluid, but that opening is also often too small to allow for sexual intercourse or birth, and is cut open as a result, causing significant harm and complications (UNFPA).


In West Pokot, one of the areas where we work, the type of FGM practiced is Type 3: Infibulation. We have seen the power of transformative change within these communities, where near universal FGM prevalence has been almost entirely eradicated.


This is why Mekuno Project is devoted to working with organizations on the ground who are focused on culturally appropriate interventions and initiatives to combat the root causes of FGM. By taking on this holistic approach, providing tools to all stakeholders within a community to raise awareness, improve livelihoods, and create opportunities, we allow girls the opportunity to pursue futures of their own design.


For more information on our work, check out the programs we support here.

For more information on FGM, check out our blogpost on it, as well as this UNFPA FAQ Guide.

Mekuno Project supports solutions that work. By connecting and funding projects that eliminate the root causes of FGM and child marriage in Kenya, the conditions are set for hope-filled futures to flourish.

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