British soul singer and star of new musical Memphis Beverley Knight is one of three female celebrity faces featuring in charity Plan’s new ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign. Ms Knight and Game of Thrones actresses Lena Headey and Natalie Dormer each appear in the striking new campaign which seeks to further the condition of girls and women worldwide, specifically targeting child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
The adverts show close-up portraits of the women with the words of real girls who have suffered FGM and child marriage written across their faces.
“As a Plan UK ambassador, I’m proud to lend my face to the charity’s Because I am a Girl campaign,” said Knight, who has long supported the charity. She continued, “Plan UK is working hard to end these harmful practices worldwide but the stories of these girls just aren’t being heard. This campaign is vitally important.”
FGM is ‘the practice of partially or totally removing the external genitalia of girls and young women for non-medical reasons [which] commonly leads to infection, infertility and even death. [It is] mostly carried out between infancy and age 15.’ Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Sierra Leone and Sudan are among the countries with the highest rates of FGM in the world.
· Globally 130 million women and girls have undergone FGM.
· In Africa 101 million girls aged 10 and over have been subjected to FGM.
· Every year a further 3 million girls are at risk of FGM in Africa alone.
Girls in the UK are also at risk of undergoing FGM, with an estimated 65,000 girls in the UK at risk each year. “I am shocked and saddened to know that millions of girls across the world undergo female genital mutilation and are forced into marriage,” said Knight.
On their website, Plan UK states it’s aims in reducing, and ultimately eradicating, FGM globally:
‘We’re targeting 175,000 girls and young women over the next five years with education and awareness projects to encourage communities to stop FGM. It is working – with Plan’s support, 44 communities have already publicly declared abandonment of FGM.
The success of programmes like these in countries across the globe is why we believe that together we can end FGM in a generation, by 2030.’
“These practices are a violation of girls’ rights and can cause severe physical and mental trauma,” says Tanya Barron, Plan UK chief executive. Describing the ambitions for the campaign, Ms Barron said that “by putting the stories of real girls where they can’t be ignored, we hope to build momentum, unite opinion and end FGM and child marriage in a generation.” She added, “We’re absolutely delighted that Lena, Natalie and Beverley are facing up to girls’ rights and are on board to help us get this vital message across.”
To find out more about FGM, the campaign and how you can get involved please visit: