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Female Genital Mutilation

Volume 510: debated on Wednesday 2 June 2010

7. What steps he plans to take to ensure that projects to prevent female genital mutilation have access to internet-based funding programmes. (447)

The Government condemn female genital mutilation as an extreme violation of women’s and girls’ human rights. An estimated 140 million women and girls have been subjected to that practice. Internet-based funding, such as GlobalGiving, is increasingly helping civil society organisations to access funding for programmes to prevent female genital mutilation. We will look at that area over the next year as we design the poverty impact fund, which will support innovative ways of working.

Genital mutilation is condemned by most humanitarian organisations, so how does the Minister plan to ensure that his “My Aid” programme will not disadvantage unpopular programmes? As I understand it, his party’s green paper says that if 25% of people vote for Malawi, that country’s programme will get 25% of the funding. But how will he protect vital programmes that do not have the X factor and do not receive an internet vote?

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for identifying the key issue of FGM. We will certainly consider carefully what he has said, as we look to roll forward the programmes, in order to ensure that we deal in the most effective way by bearing down not only on the activity, which is clearly intolerable, but on the societal and cultural drivers that lie behind it. That is what will be most influential in driving the funds to help the programmes.