It is estimated that one in four women in Kenya has undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), and UNICEF estimates that over 200 million women worldwide have been forced to suffer the procedure. Women who go through FGM have their external genitalia partially or completely removed. It is still widely practiced because of its cultural significance, and many believe it is a prerequisite for marriage.
But now, five teenage girls from Kenya are taking a stand in an effort to help end FGM. The five teens created an app called i-Cut that helps women before or after they are forced to endure the FGM procedure. The app has five different features to help young women in distress: help, rescue, report, information on FGM, and feedback. They hope that the practice of FGM will eventually be stamped out, and that i-Cut will help.
Thanks to their innovative app, the five Kenyan girls are headed to California soon to take compete in the Technovation Challenge. The competition is designed to help girls from all over the world become tech entrepreneurs.
The five girls call themselves “The Restorers” and they believe it’s their mission “to restore hope to hopeless girls.” The Restorers were the only team picked from Africa for this year’s competition. The winners will receive $15,000 to continue developing their app. The girls aren’t too worried about winning the competition, though. Stacy Owino said, “Whether we win or not, our perspective of the world and the possibilities it has will change for the better. We just have to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to the next level.”