Baroness Cox asks Supplementary Question on International Action against Female Genital Mulitation

5 February 2016


Female Genital Mutilation: International Action

4th February 2016 | 11.13 am

Asked by Lord Chidgey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of current campaigns and programmes sponsored and executed by western governments and international non-governmental organisations aimed at eliminating female genital mutilation and cutting practices in African countries.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Verma) (Con): My Lords, since 2008, the UN estimates that 13,000 communities representing 10 million people have declared that they will abandon FGM. DfID is the largest ever donor on FGM, investing £35 million over five years, and that support is accelerating the progress we have seen since the PM co-hosted the Girl Summit. Across Africa, women, politicians, young people and religious leaders are campaigning for a change, and we stand strong in our support.

Baroness Cox (CB): My Lords, is the Minister aware that I worked as a nurse in Sudan? I saw the horrific effects of the most radical form of FGM, with agonising complications. I saw how many women, offered some amelioration—for example, following episiotomy for childbirth—refused help in terror of their husbands’ and families’ reactions. What more can be done to ensure that these DfID programmes effectively reach local communities and families, who are critical to the eradication of FGM? At present, many of these programmes do not reach grass-roots level.

Baroness Verma: My Lords, I know of the experience of the noble Baroness and the work that she does in this area. It is right and proper that we work with the countries where this is prevalent. If we are to change social norms, we need local communities on board with us. All our programmes in all the countries in which we operate put girls and women at the centre of everything we do.

The whole debate include other Peer’s contributions can be found on the House of Lords Hansard here.

FGM in Sudan infographic

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