Players of People's Postcode Lottery have awarded £250,000 to support an ActionAid UK project in Kenya to prevent girls undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and encourage empowerment through education.

This announcement comes in the week that the world observed International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. Three million girls in Africa are still at risk of FGM each year. The life-threatening practice limits girls' futures – after facing the cut, many girls never return to school and will be forced into early marriage.

The vital funding from players will fund a project constructing community safe houses for girls at risk of Female Genital Mutilation in two schools in a deprived rural area in North West Kenya. These will provide a safe space for girls who have had to escape FGM and ensure they can continue their education. The project will provide training to empower girls, boys, and the wider community about FGM, and support girls to work with local women's networks to prevent and report cases within their community.

The money will also go towards constructing a resource and training centre to support girls who have dropped out of school through early marriage and pregnancy. The project will equip girls with skills and confidence to gain improved educational and livelihood opportunities.

Girish Menon, Chief Executive of ActionAid UK, said, "Thank you to players of People's Postcode Lottery. This funding will go a long way to build on ActionAid's ongoing work tackling the complex issue of FGM.

"The project will not only protect girls from the harmful practise, but will also help remove a barrier that prevents both girls and boys from securing an education to help change their lives for good."

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "ActionAid UK is providing such vital protection to girls in Kenya who are under the threat Female Genital Mutilation.

"This vital funding will ensure the development of a safe place for girls to seek refuge and allow them to feel sheltered, secure and the ability to continue with their education. I am proud that players of People's Postcode Lottery are supporting this project."

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ActionAid UK is using player funding to help girls at risk of FGM