Five teenage girls are on a mission to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya, Africa after creating a brand new app named i-Cut. App creators Stacy Owino, Cynthia Otieno, Purity Achieng, Mascrine Atieno, and Ivy Akinyi are heading to California for the 2017 Technovation Challenge, a competition in Silicon Valley that helps girls around the world become tech entrepreneurs.
The i-Cut app provides girls with easy access to legal and medical assistance before and after FGM has taken place. This illegal, non-medical procedure intentionally alters or causes injury to the female genital organs, and is a growing problem in Kenya and other African countries beyond.
This procedure has absolutely zero health benefits for girls and women, and can cause severe bleeding, urination problems, large cysts, and infections. According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have gone through FGM in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Although FGM is illegal in Kenya, it is still practiced due to culture and tradition. FGM is a ride of passage and part of the pre-marital process.
Thanks to these strong Kenyan teens and i-Cut, girls who are being forced to undergo this procedure can alert authorities through the app. The app’s interface includes five different buttons: “help,” “rescue,” “report,” “information on FGM,” and “donate and feedback.”
The “Restorers,” as the girl’s refer to themselves as, were the only African team invited to the Technovation Challenge this year. The challenge offers winners $15,000 to help continue their app’s development. Here’s what one of the teenage girls, Stacy Owino, had to say”
“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.” – Stacy Owino
The Restorers hope to raise awareness and safety concerns regarding FGM, and encourage girls and women to get help when needed. Watch the girls talk about FGM and the app below.
Great job ladies, keep fighting for what’s right!