Today marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and we are celebrating these brave Kenyan teenage students, Stacy Owino, Cynthia Otieno, Purity Achieng, Mascrine Atieno and Ivy Akinyi a.k.a The Restorers who created an app called i-Cut to help girls affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Through i-Cut, girls who are being forced to undergo FGM can alert authorities by clicking a distress button. The app also provides survivors with resources to get help by directing them to the closest rescue centers.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a non-medical procedure that involves the total or partial removal of a woman’s external genitalia. Although it’s illegal in Kenya, FGM is still practiced in the country.
Over 200 million women and girls worldwide have undergone FGM and an estimated 1 in 4 Kenyan women have been forced to undergo the procedure. The physical and psychological impact is devastating — girls who undergo FGM are more likely to drop out of school, and in some cases the procedure can lead to death.
The app has the potential to be life-saving, but it’s best introduced into communities alongside educational empowerment programs. Because FGM is such a deep-rooted social practice, there are concerns that girls who are spared will be exposed to other forms of violence by members of their families and communities.The team’s tribe in Kenya has technically denounced FGM, but the app creators personally know girls who have been cut. They spoke of one classmate in particular who was incredibly bright, but stopped coming to school after undergoing the procedure.
Photography Credits: CNN Africa