Five teenage girls from Kenya are headed to California to make their dream of ending female genital mutilation (FGM) in their country a reality.
The bright teens invented an app called i-Cut, which provides girls with easy access to legal and medical assistance before and after FGM. The app has earned them a place in the 2017 Technovation Challenge, a competition taking place in Silicon Valley later this month that helps girls around the world become tech entrepreneurs.
FGM, a non-medical procedure that involves the total or partial removal of a woman’s external genitalia, is illegal in Kenya. But it’s still practiced because of its cultural significance as a rite of passage and prerequisite for marriage.
Through the i-Cut app, girls who are being forced to undergo the procedure can alert authorities with a distress call. Survivors can also report their violations to local authorities and find local rescue centers where they can get help — all with the touch of a button.