• The creative group behind the app i-Cut, known as 'The Restorers'. (Twitter / Technovation.)
Five smart young women from Kenya have created an app to help, rescue and give hope to girls who have or will face female genital mutilation.
By
Chloe Sargeant

4 Aug 2017 - 2:43 PM  UPDATED 4 Aug 2017 - 4:20 PM

A group of five teenage girls from Kenya have developed an app to help end female genital mutilation (FGM). 

Stacy Owino, Cynthia Otieno, Purity Achieng, Mascrine Atieno, and Ivy Akinyi call themselves 'The Restorers', because it's their hope to stop FGM all across the world, and "restore hope to the hopeless girls in the society". 

The teens have created an app called iCUT, which provides young girls with medical and legal advice and assistance regarding FGM. 

Through using the app, girls who are being forced to undergo the procedure can alert authorities, report violations, and find local shelters and help centres. The interface has five simple options: 'help', 'rescue', 'report', 'information', and 'donate/give feedback'. 

The group of girls are a part of the Technovation Challenge competition in Silicon Valley, which focuses on giving girls opportunities in creating and releasing successful, progressive applications.

Should they win, the talented Restorers will receive $15,000 to assist them in continuing to develop iCUT.

Owino told the Thomas Reuters Foundation, "FGM is a big problem affecting girls worldwide and it is a problem we want to solve."

The girls' Luo tribe in Kenya has condemned the practice of FGM - but the girls say they know others who have experienced it. 

"We were very close, but after [one girl] was cut she never came back to school," Achieng said. "She was among the smartest girls I knew."

FGM is a non-medical procedure usually done on girls between the age of 10 and 14. It involves the cutting or removal of a woman's external genitalia, including the clitoris, and in some cases, the labia minora and majora (inner and outer lips). Traditionally, no anasthesia is used, and the procedure is performed with a razor blade. 

Female genital mutilation is illegal in Kenya, but the country still sees a high number of cases. UNICEF's 2016 data shows that just over one of five Kenyan girls go through the procedure. 

"This whole experience will change our lives," Owino said. "Whether we win or not, our perspective of the world and the possibilities it has will change for the better."

Female genital mutilation is hurting Australian girls and we must work together to stamp it out
Female genital mutilation is largely hidden in Australia and other high-income countries. But the United Nations says it is a global concern – and our research found it does affect girls here.
Experts dismiss reports of jihadist-ordered female genital mutilation
Jihadists in Iraq have reportedly ordered all women between the ages of 11 and 46 to undergo female genital mutilation, but experts quickly cast doubt on the claim.