i-Cut Creators

Kenyan Teenagers Invent App to Help End Female Genital Mutilation

by Zahara Hill, August 8, 2017

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i-Cut Creators

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an abhorrent non-medical procedure that removes part or all of a girl’s external genitalia. FGM is a long held social custom — predominantly practiced in Africa, Asia and the Middle East — typically intended to prevent young girls from engaging in pre-marital sex. But five Kenyan teenagers are using technology to resist the cruel and life-threatening procedure .

Mashable reports that Cynthia Otieno, Purity Achieng, Mascrine Atieno, Ivy Akinyi and Stacy Owino are the creators of an app called i-Cut. The app allows young woman to seek medical and legal aid before or after forcibly undergoing FGM. i-Cut allows users to choose from five main options: “help,” “rescue,” “report,” “information on FGM” and “donate and feedback.”

The first three options allows girls to seek immediate help, find a rescue center or report the procedure to authorities in Kenya where the practice is illegal. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM is often performed on girls between infancy and adolescence.

i-Cut is so genius that it’s a contender in the 2017 Technovation Challenge aimed at fostering more women in tech.

The group of young women who call their team “The Restorers” are the only ones to represent Africa in the competition.

“FGM is a big problem affecting girls worldwide and it is a problem we want to solve,” Owino, one of i-Cut’s creators told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in late July. “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.”

WHO reports 200 million young women have undergone FGM and over 3 million girls are likely to be cut annually. The Luo tribe that the girls belong to in Kenya don’t practice FGM, but they do know someone who was damaged by the procedure.
“We were very close, but after she was cut she never came back to school,” Achieng, another of the app’s founders told Reuters. “She was among the smartest girls I knew.”
The Restorers boarded a flight to California on Sunday to compete in Technovation. If they win the competition they’ll be awarded $15,000 to continue production of i-Cut.
 
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