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Kenyan School Girls Invent App To End Female Genital Mutilation

BY STELLA WAAFRIKA

From let to right: Stacy Owino, Purity Achieng, Ivy Akinyi, Synthia Otieno and Macrine Atieno at the Techovation competition

In the latest innovation news, a group of five teenage Kenyan school girls invent an app dubbed, 'I-Cut', to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, the world's biggest news and information provider, the five teenagers are the only Africans selected to take part in this year's international Technovation competition, where girls develop mobile apps to end problems in their communities. Technovation is an initiative sponsored by Google, Verizon and the United Nations, whose aim is to teach girls the skills they need to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders.

These young minds refer to themselves as Restorers of Hope; they restore hope to hopeless girls.
One of the girls, Stacy Owino, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, "FGM is a big problem affecting girls worldwide and it is a problem we want to solve." Further adding, "This whole experience will change our lives. Whether we win or not, our perspective of the world and the possibilities it has will change for the better."

The five innovators will be travelling to California where they hope to win $15,000 for their invention.

There's been countless stories (those that happen to be documented) about Female Genital Mutilation, from documentaries to news articles, television coverage, you name it.
Female Genital Mutilation or cutting as it's known to some (FGM/C) refers to “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”

A report released in September 2016 by UNICEF states that at least 200 million girls and women alive today living in 30 countries have undergone FGM/C.
It is always heartwarming to hear such news of young people especially the girl child, using technology to solve solutions to complex issues in society. There's still some parts of our continent where educating a girl-child is seen as a liability due to a patriarchy driven mentality, "a girl-child's aspiration is marriage so educating her is a waste of time"; therefore such stories are a true epitome of what the fruits of educating a girl-child can yield.

Interestingly, these girls belong to the Luo ethnic group in Kenya, where FMG is not practiced however, they say they have friends who have been cut, so they're doing it in solidarity for other girls -- another 'to teach a girl-child is to teach a nation' gesture.

Restorers of hope indeed!

Sources: Thomson Reuters Foundation | UNICEF
Photo Credit: Technovation Competition

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