Approximately 140 million women have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide. Each year 3 million girls are at risk of the practice in Africa. In the UK, it is estimated that 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at high risk of the most severe form of FGM.
Child marriage refers to any marriage of a child younger than 18 years old, in accordance to Article 1 of the Convention on the Right of the Child. While child marriage can happen to both sexes, it disproportionately affects girls.
Poverty, lack of access and harmful traditions like child marriage and early childbirth increase the of fistula. The condition leaves women physically, emotionally and socially traumatised. With no education, employment or livelihood, they travel a long road of rejection and pain.