Girls attend a community meeting on FGM/C, in the northern town of Katiola in Vallée du Bandama Region. The meeting was organized by the NGO OIS Afrique, a UNICEF partner, which works with communities and FGM/C practitioners to end the harmful traditional practice. In July 2013 in Côte d’Ivoire, programmes that promote rights-based development continue to encourage communities to abandon female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and other harmful traditional practices that violate women’s and girl’s fundamental rights or endanger their health. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to FGM/C in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated, and as many as 30 million girls are at risk of being cut over the next decade. In Côte d’Ivoire – 1 of the 29 countries – prevalence remains high although the practice has been illegal since 1998. An estimated 38 per cent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 have undergone the harmful procedure, which can result in infection, chronic pain, complications during pregnancy and delivery, and increased risk of newborn death. About 21 per cent of women have at least one daughter alive who has been subjected to FGM/C. More than half (55 per cent) of Ivorian girls are cut before the age of 5. The greatest prevalence has been registered in the western (73 per cent) and the northern and north-western (88 per cent) regions. Rural areas, areas most affected by past civil strife, older age groups, and uneducated and less-educated groups are among the areas and population groups with higher prevalence rates. Working with partners, including government authorities, NGOs and other UN agencies, UNICEF supports education, protection and prevention interventions and community- and rights-based programmes to raise awareness and promote behaviour change to end FGM/C and other harmful traditional practices. Globally, human-rights-based development methodologies with social

African women take the lead to end female genital mutilation and early child marriage in Africa through the strategic launch of The Big Sister Movement.

BSM is the largest grassroots coalition of local nongovernment organisations led by women survivors of female genital mutilation and cutting from The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia.

The movement’s aim is to give back the the testimonies and scope of actions to survivors, to enable them to tell their own stories, advocate and find grassroots solutions to the issue of FGM/C in Africa.

“For too long, international organizations have been leading the campaign in Africa, implementing programs together with local activists in our communities,” according to Jaha Dukureh, a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

“The time has come for Africans across the Continent and the world to be at the forefront of the campaign to end female genital mutilation and early child marriage in Africa by 2030.”

“African women tend to be perceived as women who need to be saved. They are never considered as the actual saviours. This is what the Big Sister Movement is about,” added Augustine Abu, a BSM Coalition member.

In Africa 6000 girls are mutilated everyday, 200 million women live with the effects of FGM/C, and 30 million girls are still at risk over the next decades.