An end to FGM

06 February 2014

Today is one of the most depressing but perhaps also one of the most encouraging days in the international development calendar. It’s the UN International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It’s a depressing day because it reminds us that such practices still exist and need to be combatted. FGM is dangerous, degrading, brutal and a violation of human rights for women. It’s an encouraging day, however, because something is clearly being done. And we are among the groups doing something. Ending FGM is a cause Friends of Londiani supports. Women’s health and education are core parts of our programmes, notably the Alternative Rites of Passage Programme, which, as its name implies, is culturally aware but explains the dangers of FGM and encourages women to seek a safer alternative. It’s by no means a simple process; it takes patience, sensitivity and resources to make it work. But it is working. You can find out more about this in a fascinating article that appeared in a recent edition of the Comhlámh magazine. In it, our very own Helen Concannon discusses the challenges involved in combatting FGM and the growing success of Friends of Londiani’s Alternative Rites of Passage Programme. It’s at You can also read about the wider issues behind this international day at