Nile Sisters Development Initiative (NSDI) believes that access to holistic, culturally sensitive health and wellness programs are necessary for our community members to reach their full potential and to thrive. Because an average of 70% of our constituents are women, NSDI is committed to addressing health disparities among refugee and immigrant girls and women. Women’s HEALTH—Health, Education, and Lifestyle Training Hub—will increase the awareness of and access to essential sexual and reproductive health services.
Female Genital Cutting (FGC)
Female genital cutting (FGC), sometimes referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM), refers to “any partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury of the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” Young girls are at greatest risk of being subjected to FGC. Statistics reveal that most FGC procedures take place on girls between the ages of 5 and 14.
FGC is a direct cause of severe immediate and long-term physical and mental health afflictions:
- urination problems
- chronic infections and the formation of cysts
- increased risk of experiencing childbirth complications, such as prolonged labor, postpartum hemorrhage, and obstetric fistula
- increased likelihood of delivering a low birth-weight infant
- increased likelihood of still birth
Globally, more than 200 million girls and women have undergone FGC, with three million estimated to be currently at-risk. In California, approximately 57,000 women and girls are at-risk of FGC, making it the most impacted state in the US.
Women’s HEALTH Program Services
The Nile Sisters HEALTH program offers the following services to the San Diego refugee and immigrant community:
- clinical referrals for reproductive and sexual health services
- health education regarding the adverse health risks of FGC
- a community health advocate to conduct culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education
Nile Sisters Development Initiative gratefully acknowledges funding from the US Office of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health through the Female Genital Cutting Community-Centered Outreach and Prevention Project.
Nile Sisters, in partnership with Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD), aims to reach 100 FGC-affected women between 2016 and 2019.