On the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation on February 6th, the children's rights organization Plan International called for more education on the taboo subject. "The circumcision of the female genitalia is still a taboo subject in most African communities in Germany," said Plan director Kathrin Hartkopf.
There is a high risk that the affected girls and women will not know who to turn to if, for example, health complications arise. "We must not leave them alone. Education is the first step," said Hartkopf.
It is estimated that there are around 75,000 people affected in Germany alone, and more than 20,000 girls are considered at risk. "We therefore want to promote education about female genital mutilation together with partner organizations," said plan expert Edell Otieno-Okoth. Around 50 advice and contact points in the individual federal states offer support for affected families. It is just as important to inform specialists from the health and social sector - such as midwives, pediatricians or social workers - and to sensitize them to how to deal with those who are at risk and affected.
For 20 years, Plan International has been campaigning against female genital mutilation in several African countries, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Sierra Leone. In Germany, the aid organization supports the African communities in initiating changes in their own countries of origin. A manual on the cruel practice also offers help in English, French and Arabic.