Young Women Challenge FGM in Kerdasa, Egypt

In the heart of Kerdasa, Cairo, the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) had long been deeply rooted in the community, sustained by harmful social norms. Unfortunately, even within health units, the procedure is often performed and accepted by health practitioners. However, a transformative change is beginning to take root.

A group of young women employed in these health units attended the RiseUp! Transformative Leadership training session on FGM. During the session, they learned about the severe physical and mental impacts of this harmful practice and understood that FGM is merely a social custom, not a religious duty. Often referred to as “Treason Day,” FGM is a prevalent habit in this community. Empowered by newfound knowledge and awareness, the young women emerged from the session with a new resolution: they vowed never to subject their daughters to FGM. They decided to stand up to this decision and spread awareness to their peers and community.

Photo: One of the training sessions in Egypt.

One of these champions faced her mother-in-law with the information she learned in the FGM session. However, her mother-in-law defended the customs and norms, resisting change. This reflects the challenges—and sometimes risks—faced by young women when advocating against such a deeply rooted practice.

Despite these challenges, the shift in awareness about FGM has been noticed across many districts with similar characteristics. Participants in the training expressed admiration for the facilitators’ strength and knowledge, with some even telling them, 

“We wish our children grow up to be as strong and powerful as you are.”

The Rise Up! Training sessions have sparked significant reflection on practices that influence the communities’ perspective on FGM, demonstrating the power of education and awareness in challenging and changing long-standing harmful practices.