Canada spends $3M to stop female genital mutilation in the African nation of Benin

Canada will spend $3 million for a project aimed at eradicating female genital mutilation in West Africa.

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau will announce funding for the project Tuesday, which is the International Day for Zero Tolerance on female genital mutilation, FGM.

This will be the first government project to target the controversial practice.

“FGM is considered as gender-based violence and a criminal act in Canada and I think it’s important to inform the new citizens that this cultural practice is absolutely not acceptable in Canada,”– she said.

“It’s really a matter of belief and cultural norm, so we have to have this conversation with mothers, grandmothers, religious and traditional leaders, to end this practice,” — she added.

According to WHO more than 200 million girls and women are subjected to FGM in 30 countries covering Africa, Asia, and the Middle East

“It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women,” WHo said on its website.

The project will help 57,000  young girls as well as female survivors of sexual violence, leaders from civil society, and health and education professionals.

“Our objective is to prevent 57,000 girls between zero and nine from being targeted and being cut.”- Bibeau said.

“We have to have these conversations with these communities to work on their beliefs and cultural norms and for them to understand it’s a matter of rights, and health for women and girls,” — she added.

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