DAKAR, Senegal -- Kadiatou Balde grew up in a Senegalese village with the tradition of female genital mutilation. She never had a choice, but now as a community elder she is helping to banish the practice with the support of the Grandmothers Project.
It is one of many efforts worldwide seeking to end a practice that has affected more than 200 million women and girls alive today in in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Wednesday is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, and many organizations, led by the United Nations, are reaffirming their commitment to end what has been called a violation of human rights.
FGM can affect sexual intercourse and lead to problems with childbirth. It can spread HIV, and shoddy procedures can lead to death.