During the mapathon hosted by UNFPA on September 28, over 6,000 volunteers in over 60 countries mapped more than 49,000 buildings and nearly 7,000 kilometres of roads – generating data that will help a range of FGM-related services and outreach programmes reach the girls, families and communities that need them most.
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“When I was young, I did not want to be cut,” said Aissata Camara, speaking at the High-Level Panel on Female Genital Mutilation, held during the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. “I am one of those 200 million girls who have been cut,” said the Guinean-American activist and co-founder of the There Is No Limit Foundation. “I am here to speak for the 68 million that are now at risk.” Female genital mutilation (FGM) is routinely practiced in 25 countries. In 2015, an estimated 3.9 million girls were cut.
In the wake of the migration crisis and other humanitarian emergencies, women and girls are experiencing unconscionable trauma. Gender-based violence – including child marriage and forced pregnancy – exploitation, and trafficking often escalate during conflict, threatening the lives and well-being of women and girls around the world. Women and children account for roughly 75 per cent of those displaced by conflict. About 20 per cent are women of reproductive age.
At only 16 years old, Laura* has already experienced intimate partner violence. "For two years, I put up with verbal and even physical abuse," she said, referring to an ex-boyfriend. "It's one of the worst things I have ever experienced.
"That's what's left of my teeth after my husband beat me," Ameera* said at a women's shelter in south-western Yemen. She held out three white shards, which she keeps as evidence for her divorce proceedings. "He hit me so hard he broke my teeth and nose," she told UNFPA.
"I often watch boys playing cricket on this ground. But today I caught a glimpse of girl cricketers in action," said Irfan Darji, a 13-year-old spectator at the final match in a trailblazing girls' tournament in Tulihawa, Nepal, on 26 October.
"I woke up one morning, and my father told me that we were poor and needed money," said Faith, describing the moment she learned she was engaged. She was 11 years old at the time.
IBB, Yemen - Last year, Ayisha was married at only 13 years old. She delivered a baby several weeks ago - a girl. "My family forced me to get married and took me out of school," she told UNFPA while recuperating from childbirth. She was crying; the new reality of her situation weighed heavily on her.