A FLINTSHIRE woman is one of thousands of volunteers using her time in lockdown to fight female genital mutilation (FGM) thousands of miles away in east Africa.

The Crowd2Map project has gained almost 3,000 new mappers since the beginning of March last year, bringing the total number to around 16,000 from across the globe.

Almost a third of the people working from their bedrooms and living rooms helping to plot millions of buildings on previously blank areas of Tanzania on OpenStreetMap are from the UK, said London-based project founder Janet Chapman.

Catherine O’Farrell, 26, said she “needed more purpose” in lockdown while she was shielding with epilepsy and severe asthma.

The psychology graduate from Flintshire said her volunteer efforts made her realise “a pandemic that shuts us away in our houses over here doesn’t end FGM”.

She said: “The first mapping sessions you do truly are incredible – taking a section on the map, finding and mapping all of the roads and buildings in a part of the world that’s so far away.

“Then you start to think about the people living in the buildings you map, the girls you will be helping.”

FGM, the intentional altering or injuring of the female genitals for non-medical reasons, is against the law on under-18s in Tanzania but still happens in many villages.

The work of these volunteers is used to help guide activists on the ground to girls at risk, and is thought to have helped save more than 3,000 girls there from FGM since Crowd2Map was set up in 2015.

Crowd2Map is holding an online mapathon on Saturday, February 6, suitable for beginners as well as more experienced volunteers. Find out more online at https://crowd2map.org/.