#Open Your Eyes: Together against Female Genital Mutilation
TERRE DES FEMMES launches new social media campaign against FGM
On the 7th of May 2017, the “Worldwide Day of Genital Autonomy”, TERRE DES FEMMES together with GREY launched a social media campaign in order to raise awareness about FGM. The campaign image displays a closed eye in a vertical perspective, which aims to demonstrate a circumcised vagina. In social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) TERRE DES FEMMES followers and supporters share the animated picture of the closed eye, which reveals its true content: an open eye.
A variety of eye motives have been circulating in several social media platforms. Our CHANGE Agents from the CHANGE PLUS Project also took part in the campaign and provided one of many images. Activists have given interviews for the campaign websites in order to tell the story behind the eyes.
You can visit the campaign website under eyesonfgm.de. It gives information about the campaign, activists and an opportunity to donate for the organisations work. In addition, information about Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is transmitted. “Open Your Eyes” has the aim to literally open the eyes of the public and to raise awareness about the problem of FGM in as many minds as possible since only together we can overcome the practice of FGM worldwide.
#openyoureyes #eyesonfgm #endfgm #hope #terredesfemmes #womenrights
CHANGE Agent Evariste Kapnang Tchaptchet sensitizes in Refugee Camp against Female Genital Mutilation
On Saturday, the 13th of May 2017, our CHANGE Agent Evariste Franz Kapnang Tchaptchet from Cameroon organized a behaviour change activity in the refugee camp in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.
In order to get in contact with the refugees living in the camp, Evariste organized an afternoon barbecue event. The sunny weather and the invitation for a joint meal attracted many men and women. With the support of his wife Tiranke Diallo and her brother Souleymane Diallo from Guinea, Evarista sensitized and raised awareness about Female Genital Mutilation and its severe consequences and implications.
Dr. Ida Nabateregga from TERRE DES FEMMES was also present at the behaviour change activity and able to talk to social workers in the refugee camp about the professional dealing with women affected with FGM. Furthermore, she presented TERRE DES FEMMES and the activities on FGM as well and distributed our information brochure “We want to protect our girls”, which is available in Arabic, Tigrinya, Somali, Kiswahili, English, French and German.
It is of utmost importance to raise awareness about FGM in refugee camps, even though the topic is not central to many refugees since they have other issues such as dealing with their residence status, work and study permit etc. However, we think the problem of FGM and its clarification is crucial in the integration process of many newly arriving migrants and refugees. In order to successfully provide and guarantee support for girls and women who are endangered or had undergone FGM, protection measures and advisory centres have to be available and communicated. Many newly arriving refugees are hard to reach since they prefer to be around community members rather than exposed directly to the new society. Thus, it is difficult to learn and know about existing and available resources and offers.
This event on FGM is the second one of our CHANGE Plus Agent Evariste. His first activity took place on the 29th of April, where mainly men and a few women had a lively discussion on FGM.
We thank Evariste for his effort and engagement to sensitize communities about FGM and its implications in order to ensure a long lasting behaviour change within various communities.
18th of May: National Day against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Burkina Faso
In addition to the International Day „Zero Tolerance against Female Genital Mutilation“ on the 6th of May, Burkina Faso has its nationwide Day against FGM on the 18th of May where the National Commission in the fight against FGM („Commission nationale de lutte contre la pratique del’excision“, CNLPE) celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Worldwide over 200 million girls and women are affected by FGM. In Burkina Faso, according to UNICEF, 76% of all girls and women in the age of 15 until 49 years have undergone FGM. There are four different forms of FGM: Type II, the so-called “Excision”, is the most practiced form of FGM in Burkina Faso. It includes the excision of the outer visible clitoris and the labia minora. The labia majora is sometimes additionally excised. It is also conspicuous that over 50% of girls and women are affected from FGM before they are five years old.
A variety of ethnic groups live in Burkina Faso. The prevalence rate in some regions is estimated to be over 80% whereas the lowest prevalence rate is 22%, according to the 2013 published UNICEF study. The study refutes the widely believed assumption that Muslim provisions are reasons for female genital mutilation. In fact, 60%-76% of the affected women are affiliated with other religious persuasions than Islam.
Even though the act and assistance of FGM in Burkina Faso is regarded as a criminal offence and punished with three years prison or a 10.000 US Dollar fine, it is still extensively practiced and affects many girls and women.
First Results in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation
The government of Burkina Faso has been trying to abandon FGM for over 30 years. A national Commission for the fight against FGM was established in 1990. The first official law prohibiting FGM was introduced in 1996 and a special secretariat with executive power was established to ensure the effective implementation of the law. Financial, personnel and legal resources have been mobilised in order to obtain the abolishment of the practice in the population. Through the establishment of a hotline, people can report in cases of suspicion or in actual cases of FGM about victims and perpetrators. The government is confident that it will reach the complete abolition of the practice of FGM by 2030.
Through the implemented social and judicial measurements, the government of Burkina Faso hopes to create a framework to effectively prosecute and punish the practicing of FGM. However, the goal to completely eradicate FGM is recognized as a great challenge since it is an old and deep rooted traditional practice.
One of the reasons for the continuation of FGM according to the 2013 UNICEF survey was indicated to be social pressure exercised as well as its effect on the societal acceptance. In addition, 26% of the survey participants mentioned hygienically reasons and purity. This strong and deep rooted tradition is passed on to the next generations and firmly established in the societal structures.
Yet, over the last 30 years a change can be witnessed. This is evident in the data collection of affected women and young girls. In 2010, 88% of women in the age of 45-49 years had undergone FGM. In the age group of 15-19 years 58% were affected. One can see that less children are being affected by FGM and that the numbers are declining. New surveys have also revealed that 90% of women are against the continuation of FGM.
TERRE DES FEMMES Engagement
TERRE DES FEMMES has been fighting for over 35 years for the rights of women and the abandonment of FGM. Through educational work and project activities with communities in Germany as well as through international cooperation with women organisations in other countries, we try to actively support and foster change towards the eradication of FGM.
One of our strongest partner organisations is the “Association Bangr Nooma” (ABN), which is effectively active in the fight against FGM in three regions of Burkina Faso.
Rakieta Poyga, who is the head of the organisation, established ABN in 1998. The organisation works in three different regions by sensitizing the population about the negative consequences of FGM. In addition, educational work is carried out in a strong cooperation with village elderlies and multipliers. Bangr Nooma supports former circumcisers and the assistance with microcredits since they lose not only their societal status but also their income for existence. Additionally, Bangr Nooma provides medical examinations.
One big success was the celebration event in 2016 in the village region Toukin. During the ceremonial public event, tools used for the excision were buried and celebrated as a symbol for the eradication of the tradition. Representatives of the Ministry of Family Affairs as well as social authorities like village elderlies and 1.000 guests attended the ceremony.
Support our work!
In order to foster behavioural change and to effectively stop the harmful traditional practice of FGM much support and help is needed.
If you want to support TERRE DES FEMMES or our project partner Association Bangr Nooma in the fight against FGM, we would be more than thankful about any initiative or donation.
- „Es schlägt einem aufs Herz“ - Das Trauma der Frauen, die in Burkina Faso jahrzehntelang Beschneidungen an Mädchen durchgeführt haben: Interview mit einer Wäscherin, Irma Bergknecht, 2016
- Bericht zur Projektbesuchsreise 2016 (PDF)
- UNICEF Studie: UNICEF Statistical Profile Gemale Genital Mutilation / Cutting Burkina Faso - Data and Analytics Section – Division of Policy and Strategy, released 2013
- Präsentation der „L’ action du gouvernement burkinabé dans la lutte contre la pratique de l’excision“ von Mme Reine Bertille Benao – Sakande, Secrétaire permanente du Conseil national de lutte contre la pratique de l’excision (PDF)
MAP-FGM Seminar in Brussels for scientific research
From 8th until 9th of June 2017 the conference of MAP-FGM regarding the topic „Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting at the Intersection of Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Research – Experiences from Africa and Europe“ took place in Brussels. TERRE DES FEMMES expert Charlotte Weil participated. The Multisectoral Academic Programme to prevent and combat FGM (MAP FGM) is an innovative project with the aim to educate about FGM in general and dealing with FGM for key professionals in the European Union.
The pluridisciplinary team of professors and researchers developed a training guide, which containes a critical Gender and cultur-sensitive thinking as well as practical recommendations from the work of affected girls and women, their families and key professionals. The conference aimed at discussing the results of research and campaigns to end FGM and developing specific recommendations. Especially NGOs, researchers, activists and members of institutional organizations shall extend their knowledge about FGM with seminars like the MAP-FGM conference.
The participants discussed several topics as the role of research on FGM, the efficacy of interventions to end FGM, the influence of migration on FGM and a possible transfer of social norms and the international human rights framework. Our CHANGE Plus partners from the Coventry University will also hold a seminar on the methodological approach for behavioural change to end FGM. We are happy to participate and internationally work together to end FGM.
TERRE DES FEMMES at the Africa KENAKO Festival in Berlin
This year TERRE DES FEMMES took part int the KENAKO Festival at Alexanderplatz in Berlin from 11th till 13th of July 2017 for the first time to present its work and inform about female genital mutilation (FGM). Since the department against FGM works more and more with communities themselves, we were happy to present our work and activites regarding FGM.
From 8th till 18th of June 2017 the KEANKO Africa Festival took place at Alexanderplatz in Berlin. The organizers of the Africa Media Centre provided many different activities for all ages. There were lots of stage events with African artists, manifold activities for children, readings, discussions and film screenings. During the ten days of the festival different booths offered culinary delicacies, arts and crafts from African countries as well as information of local organizations und various inititatives. For more information visit http://www.kenako-festival.de/.
The KENAKO Festival aims at presenting African cultures and the colourful, crative and inspiring aspects of the African continent. The festival ought to show the lifes of African women and men living in Berlin. During the festival people form all different origins meet and talk to develop mutual respect and understanding for eachother.
The department against female genital mutilation (FGM) at TERRE DES FEMMES got the possibility to connect with different communities and inform about FGM. Therefore, we hope to sensitize more people and engage them in the fight against FGM.
Communities from Guinea, Senegal and Ivory Coast in Berlin against female genital mutilation (FGM)
On Sunday, 25th of of June, the day of the end of Ramadan, CHANGE agent Tiranke Diallo form Guinea of the Mama Africa Association togehter with Senegalese FGM activist and urban soul and hip hop singer Fatou Diatta „Sister Fa“ raised awareness on FGM. On the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, Sister Fa invited the Westafrican community to her house. Sister Fa and Tiranke Diallo seized the opportunity to talk about FGM and the risks for women and girls with their guests to encourage discussions about the topic.
Many guests gladly engaged themselves in the discussion to share their own experiences and think about strategies to overcome FGM. An interesting exchange between the three communities campe up. Whereas in Senegal and Ivory Coast numbers of FGM decrease, it stays constant in Guinea. With a prevalence rate of more than 80% Guinea is one of the countries, in which FGM is widespread. One of the participants told, that the government in Ivory Coast more and more aimes at ending FGM by passing laws against the practice and enforcing them. Parallel to the engagement of the government people more and more stand against FGM, too.
On the other hand it is even more difficult to end the tradition of FGM in Guinea. Extensive education and sensitization on different levels – including village chiefs, teachers, children, women of every age and men – are needed to abolish this deeply rooted tradition. This often provokes a conflict between generations, as mainly older women and men stick to this social norm, whereas younger ones demand a change.
With the CHANGE Plus Project, which is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union, TERRE DES FEMMES together with European partner organizations promotes the end of FGM in practicing communities in the EU. Last year our department supervisor Dr. Idah Nabateregga trained key figures as multipliers in Berlin communities. After the multipliers, so called CHANGE Agents, were trained in different aspects regarding FGM, they now implement activities to sensitize their own community. Moreover the CHANGE Agents raise awareness for the topic with the Social Media campaign „Open your eyes“.
TERRE DES FEMMES is immensely grateful for this unique engagement!
Training for professional groups in Brandenburg
On Wednesday, 28th of June 2017, TERRE DES FEMMES FGM expert Dr. Idah Nabateregga conducted a training with professional groups in Bad Freienwalde (Brandenburg) about the topic “Female genital mutilation: Consequences for affected girls and women – medical and psycho-social help”. This training was organized within the project MobileHeimBeratung of the Society for Inclusion and Social Work. The participants work in different fields, in which they get in touch with affected and endangered girls and women. This training dealt with education, prevention and supporting affected women. This sensitive topic requires a professional, adequate handling with affected and endangered girls and women. This can only be guaranteed, if professionals remain attentive and are educated regarding FGM.
TERRE DES FEMMES advocates especially in the area of FGM, that professionals are educated to be able to deal with affected women and effectively protect endangered girls.
Since last year FaZIT Brandenburg (Counselling for migration, integration and tolerance) organizes together with TERRE DES FEMMES trainings regarding FGM for professionals in Brandenburg. The participants are very interested in the topic – a second round of trainings is scheduled.
We are happy about this successful event and thank FaZIT and all particpants for their interest!