The new EU co-funded project CHAIN is dedicated to the prevention of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early and forced marriage (EFM); two forms of gender-based violence that are often intertwined. As part of the European Commission's Rights, Equality and Citizenship program, TERRE DES FEMMES is coordinating the two-year project (duration: 1.9.2020-31.08.2022) and implementing it together with four European partner organizations - Action Aid International Italia Onlus (AAIT; Milan), Equilibres et Populations (Equipop; Paris), Save a Girl, Save a Generation (SAGSAG; Madrid) and the European network End FGM based in Brussels.

Following the successful implementation of the EU-funded CHANGE projects (2013 - 2020: CHANGE, CHANGE Plus and Let's CHANGE) to end female genital mutilation in Europe, the prevention and intervention work on FGM will be continued and expanded to include early and forced marriage as forms of gender-based violence. Prevention, protection and support measures for girls and women affected by FGM and/or EFM are getting promoted, institutionalized and further expanded through continuous empowerment in forms of training, capacity building and awareness raising in close cooperation with the affected communities.

Close cooperation with affected communities

The partner organizations in Italy, Germany, France and Spain will train Community Trainers from affected communities, who will then sensitize community leaders from various diaspora communities on the issues of FGM and EFM, and initiate a dialogue with them. This will particularly empower girls and women affected by and at risk of FGM/EFM. Through activities in communities, at least 4,000 people from different diaspora communities in Europe will be reached. Part of the project will also include an awareness campaign to raise awareness and sensitize on the two forms of gender-based violence.

Improving the protection for girls and the support for affected women and girls

Another main objective of CHAIN is the prevention, care and support at the institutional level for girls and women at risk and those affected. That’s why intervention chains are being developed in collaboration with local and national stakeholders, that define guidelines for intervention in cases of female genital mutilation and/or early and forced marriage in Berlin, Madrid, Milan and Paris. These intervention chains will be presented at a national conference and can thus be adapted by other regions/federal states.

In addition, the qualified Community Trainers will educate and sensitize key professionals from public authorities, the health and social sectors across Europe on how to support and deal with FGM/EFM survivors and those at risk.

In order to make the work sustainable, the project aims to build the foundation for a Europe-wide community network, which will subsequently provide opportunities for exchange and transnational cooperation.

In addition, bilateral lobby meetings in the European Parliament and an international conference in Brussels will be held to involve the political level and other relevant stakeholders in the discourse on FGM/EFM and to present demands and needs of the communities.

Status 9/2020