E-learning platform for female genital mutilation for key professionals now online!
On the occasion of the “Zero-Tolerance-Day” against female genital mutilation on 6th of February 2017 TERRE DES FEMMES together with the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) organized a symposium, at which among others the webbased platform for key professionals was presented. Moreover activists and members of affected communities took actively part and reported about the current situation and needs in the communities. Participants discussed current issues in small groups.
The e-learning platform has been developed within the project „United to End FGM“, which is co-funded by the EU, together with European partner organizations. The webbased platfrom includes: an e-learning course, wich is available in nine languages, country-specific information for the eleven partner countries as well as interactive additional offers as webinars and an online discussion forum. The e-learning course shall improve the awareness and knowledge about FGM of key professionals from different areas as health, asylum, law and justice, police, education, social services child protection as well as media. The online course also serves for NGOs and especially womens’ rights organizations and shelters, which provide safety and support for affected girls and women.
According to recent estimates of UNICEF more than 200 Million girls and women are affected by female genital mutilaiton (FGM) worldwide, 70 Million more than was estimated in 2014. Due to migration the problem greatly expanded regionally, so that today more than 58.000 affected and 13.000 endangered girls and women are living in Germany (TERRE DES FEMMES 2017). To avert the risk and provide for survivors it is very important to sensitize and educate key professionals, who are in contact with FGM as social workers, gynaecologists, midwives, legal experts, police.
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Meeting of the working group „Female genital mutilation (FGM)“ in Berlin
On 25th and 26th of March 2017 the TERRE DES FEMMES working group „Female genital mutilation“ met for the biannual meeting in Berlin. The experts talked about relevant topics and developed mutual positions.
TDF expert Charlotte Weil reported about the activities of the department FGM in the offices as well as about the developments of the CHANGE Plus project. She presented the 15 min educational film „Amina“, which was produced within the CHANGE Plus project. Moreover the new INTEGRA study about female genital mutilation in Germany was presented and commented by the members of the working group. The women discussed the term „FGM“ and talked about the debate regarding „medicalisation of FGM“ and medical reconstruction. Further points discussed were FGM as a reason for asylum, the international day for genital self-determination (7th of May) and in this context also the topic male circumcision.
The women of the working group „Female genital mutilation (FGM)“ discussed these topics, outlined mutual positions, ideas for activities and approaches for educational work. At the end of the meeting topics and tasks for the next meeting in autumn were determined.
Educational work in Gambian community in Berlin
On 20th of April 2017 our multiplier Isatou Barry organized her first activity within the CHANGE Plus project to end female genital mutilation (FGM). After the multipliers, the so called „CHANGE Agents“, completed an intense training regarding different aspects of FGM last year, they now implement sensitization activities in their own communities.
One week after she gave birth to her son, Isatou Barry invited family, friends and acquaintances to her house. She seized the opportunity with the support of Sister Fa, activist and musician, to encourage a discussion regarding children’s rights and protection. In the course of this discussion she also addressed the topic female genital mutilation (FGM). Isatou Barry and Sister Fa answered many questions, a lively discussion developed, in which especially the men took part in.
When the women talked about their negative experiences with FGM and concrete examples, the men reacted with compassion; even those, who see the practice of FGM as an important measure in a girl’s life. At the same time it became clear, that many people do not know much about the practice. It was new to many attendants, that there are different types of FGM. While in case of Type I only part oft he clitoris is excised, in case of Type III, the „infibulation“, the vagina is sewed up, which can result in severe health issues as well as complications during pregnancy and birth. Many men were surprised. They were grateful to get information about the consequences of the practice for girls and women, since the topic FGM is a taboo topic in many communities.
Some of the attendants changed their mind about FGM at the end of the afternoon and offered to introduce their new knowledge about the topic at other community meetings and to raise awareness about the harmful practice.
„We want to protect our girls“ – Education brochure for practicing communities
The prevention brochure “We want to protect our daughters” includes short and precise information about female genital mutilation and is addressed to people from practicing communities. The brochure is now available in Tigrinya as well as six other languages (German, English, Arabic, French, Somali, Swahili, Tigrinya). Tigrinya is mostly spoken in Eritrea – a country with a prevalence rate of 89%.
The brochure “We want to protect our daughters” includes a definition of the practice of female genital mutilation and information about range and patterns of argument. The wide-ranging consequences for affected girls and women are especially highlighted. It is unambiguously made clear that female genital mutilation is a severe human rights violation and a form of child abuse, which can be punished under criminal law in Germany.
The brochure is written in a clear, understandable language. It is primarily addressed to migrants from practicing communities living in Germany. Endangered girls ought to be protected through education.
“We want to protect our girls” can be ordered in the TERRE DES FEMMES Onlineshop.