Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), also known as female circumcision, is a traditional cultural practice that in several African and Middle Eastern countries. To date, it has harmfully affected more than 100 million women. The practice has both short and long-term health repercussions, and cause enormous amounts of physical, psychological, and emotional pain. UNICEF and its partners launched a program called “Accelerating Change” which uses a culturally sensitive approach to end FGM/C. The approach uses dialog and social networking that involves all groups within a community, including religious leaders and young girls themselves. Rather than having outsiders come in to condemn FGM/C, the program avoids alienating those who practice FGM/C, and instead brings them around to voluntarily give up the practice, because they understand how it harms their girls.
Rory Fry, UNICEF USA
Saturday, December 3, marked the 19th annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Sponsored by the United Nations, people from around the world recognize this day in an effort to further an understanding of people with disability, and encourage support for their dignity, rights, and overall well-being. This year’s theme was, “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development.”
According to the World Health Organization, around ten percent of the world’s children have some type of physical or mental health impairment, and around eighty percent of those children live in developing countries. Unfortunately, children with disabilities are among the most marginalized and excluded groups of children. Compared to their peers, they are routinely denied access to health, education and social services. They are often excluded from opportunities to participate in their communities, and are more vulnerable to violence and abuse.
Child marriage remains a common practice throughout much of the developing world. In order to combat this detrimental practice, we are pleased to announce an alliance between the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Girls Not Brides in the effort to end the practice of child marriage.