COVID-19 means our mapping work is more important than ever in helping protect girls from FGM in Tanzania

On 22nd April, Crowd2Map founder Janet Chapman chaired a webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on efforts to end FGM in Tanzania. Contributors included Rhobi Samwelly, Director of Hope for Girls and WomenDr. Annemarie Middelburg, a passionate consultant from the Netherlands with unique expertise on women’s rights and the practice of FGM, Anna Holmström, the Regional Manager for Development Cooperation at Felm and Michael Marwa, the Director of the Tanzania National Child Helpline.

You can access the recording of the webinar here.

In rural areas of Tanzania between 30-60% of girls and women aged 15-49 still go through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Also referred to as Female Genital Cutting (FGC), the practice of FGM, which Tanzania criminalised in 1998 on under-18s, can lead to complex infections, infertility and in some cases girls have bled to death.  

FGM often takes place in secret without the consent of the individual. It’s considered a traditional ‘rite of passage’ into adulthood and secures a higher dowry for the parents of girls who have undergone the procedure. 

To get help to girls and women who are at risk, FGM activists and the police need better maps. 

Notifications of FGM taking place often only reach them with hours to spare, at night, so the team has to react quickly. Crowd2map volunteers are based all over the world.  Remote mappers add roads and buildings from satellite images and those on the ground in Tanzania continue the process with their local knowledge, but more help is always needed.