The Kenyan teenagers tackling female genital mutilation with an app

The five Kenya girls, 'The Restorers', created an app called i-Cut, designed to connect girls affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to legal and medical assistance.

By Osman Mohamed Osman, for CNN

A group of Kenyan teenagers have created an app called i-Cut to help girls affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The students, Stacy Owino, Cynthia Otieno, Purity Achieng, Mascrine Atieno and Ivy Akinyi, have named themselves ‘The Restorers’, and will be the only Africans participating in the 2017 Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley in August.

The app will help connect affected girls to legal and medical assistance.

Girls who are forced to undergo the procedure can also alert local authorities by pressing a panic button on the app.

Despite being illegal, Kenya still records a high number of FGM cases. According to a 2016 Unicef report, one in five girls have undergone the procedure in the east African nation.

The practice is mostly done when the girls are between the ages 10-14 years.

“This app a good way of getting people to talk about FGM,” said Dorcas Adhiambo Owino, the group’s mentor and Kenya’s Technovation program lead.

“It is a conversation starter and that shows anyone can be involved in the fight against FGM.”

The team is one of 10 that have secured a place in the semi-finals of the Technovation Challenge, the teams will compete for the chance to win $15,000.

Sponsored by Google, Verizon and the United Nations, Technovation challenges girls aged 10-18 to create an app that solves problems faced by their communities.

This post first appeared on CNN

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