Say No to FGM: Campaign Calling for Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation Launched Across Egypt

To coincide with the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February, leading anti-FGM organization 28 Too Many, in partnership with the Rofayda Hospital Group and Tadwein in Egypt, announced the launch of its Zero Tolerance Ribbon against FGM. The ribbon will be given to the parents of all newborn baby girls’ at Rofayda hospitals across Egypt along with their birth certificates and a pledge urging parents to sign that they will not practice FGM on their daughters.

More than 200 million girls and women have been affected by female genital mutilation globally, and with an FGM prevalence of 87.2% in a population of nearly 95 million, Egypt has the greatest number of women and girls who have experienced FGM of any country in the world. Since at least 2008, there has been a significant shift in Egypt away from traditional practitioners and towards health professionals performing FGM.

“Even though laws prohibiting FGM in Egypt have existed since 2008, the prevalence here is still extremely high, and in most cases in Egypt, FGM is carried out by medical professionals. By launching this campaign with the Rofayda Hospital Group, we not only putting across the message of Zero Tolerance to FGM but also to the medicalization of FGM. Several young girls have died whilst undergoing medicalized FGM in Egypt and we believe that the launch of this ribbon today will be a huge step in ending this practice,” said Dr Ann-Marie Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of 28 Too Many.

Unlike traditional awareness ribbons, which follow a similar design with different colors for various issues or causes, the Zero Tolerance Ribbon will be flipped upside down. The meaning behind this symbol is two-fold. Firstly, this ribbon stands against an issue, the opposite of what traditional ribbons stand for. Secondly, and more importantly, the design of the ribbon is based on how the word ‘NO’ is written in Arabic, allowing it to become a new universal symbol and powerful statement in Arabic. The ribbon is colored in a unique shade of blue – the colour blue is a symbol of justice, protection, virtue and truth in Egypt and isconsidered a sign of safety and protection in the Middle East.

Dr Amira Edris from Rofadya Health Park, one of the hospitals from the Rofayda Hospital Group, commented: “We are thrilled to be part of such a worthy campaign. The role of our doctors will be to educate new parents on the danger of FGM, even if carried out by a medical professional. We want to encourage parents to join our pledge and protect the rights and dignity of a future generation of women and girls.”

On 6 February, the Zero Tolerance Ribbon will be distributed to all Rofayda Hospital Group hospitals through 28 Too Many’s NGO partner Tadwein and used by organizations in Egypt and across the world as a symbol of Zero Tolerance to FGM, with further plans to roll this out in all hospitals in Egypt in the coming months.

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