On Thursday and Friday, 1st and 2nd of October, the two-year project CHAIN co-funded by the European Union started officially with a kick-off meeting. Due to the current restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic the project consortium met online to discuss the project’s activities and outcomes. The project is coordinated by TERRE DES FEMMES (TDF) and will further be implemented by four partner organizations Action Aid International Italia Onlus (Milan), Equilibres et Populations (Paris), Save a Girl, Save a Generation (Madrid) and the European network End FGM (Brussels).
New approach: Linking the harmful practices of FGM and CEFM
In the course of the CHAIN project, all partners are going to work together on the prevention, protection and abandonment of female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM). This is a new and crucial concept of this project: The two practices have so far been primarily seen in isolation, though they are interconnected in many cases and show similarities. First, in many communities subjecting a girl to FGM is the precondition for being able to find a husband for the girl. Second, both practices occur for the same reasons: poverty, limited economic chances, lack of education, gender inequality, and socio-cultural norms. Moreover, FGM and CEFM aim at controlling and restricting female sexuality and limit affected women’s and girl’s ability to engage in family planning. Finally, they are both a severe human rights violation. These are the reasons, why this new CHAIN project is very valuable and important to fight FGM and CEFM.
Three main objectives: Working on both community and institutional level
During the kick-off meeting, project coordinators Charlotte Weil and Carolin Pranz presented the objectives and work packages of the project. The first core part of CHAIN consists of the prevention and fight against the two harmful practices FGM and CEFM through awareness-raising and behaviour change. Therefore, at least eight Community Trainers will be trained in each partner city to implement community events, activities and to particularly sensitize community leaders. The second objective is to provide protection and prevention by developing intervention chains for FGM/CEFM cases involving key stakeholders and by training key professionals after the development of intervention chains is completed. Lastly, community voices and concerns should be given voice at the local and European political level. Holding advocacy meetings with MEP’s, Permanent Representatives and other decision-makers will be implemented as well as building a European Community Network in order to achieve this third goal.
Fruitful discussions and exchange during the meeting
Even though it was not possible to meet in person in Berlin, the project partners exchanged experiences from previous projects, discussed challenges and clarified questions. The kick-off meeting will be followed by two workshops: the first one on the concept of an awareness-raising campaign on 21st of October and the second one on the development of a training manual on child, early and forced marriage on 22nd of October.
TDF thanks all partners for the great discussions and the motivated and positive energy.
We are very much looking forward to working together in the CHAIN project!