What is the mainstreaming of FGM ?

Mainstreaming FGM means addressing FGM in broader programmes such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, human rights and women’s rights, as well as in different sectors – such as education, asylum, health, research, law enforcement, child protection.

It is widely recognized that the systematic integration of FGM is key to ending the practice and ensuring that all women and girls receive appropriate and adequate care by relevant services. Evidence shows that professionals can play a major role in the protection, prevention and care of girls and women living with or at risk of FGM and that initiatives are generally more successful if they are integrated into broader programmes or existing services.

In Africa, for example, the involvement of health professionals is central to addressing medicalization, while in Europe work in the asylum sector has proven effective in reaching affected women and promoting the abandonment of FGM.

There is also a need to place greater emphasis on the needs of girls and women affected by FGM and to treat the subject as gender-based violence, part of the continuum of violence against women.

According to the Performance Analysis Report of the UNICEF/UNFPA Joint Programme Phase II (UNFPA-UNICEF, 2018) :

“people are more likely to be receptive to messages from respected members of the community such as midwives and teachers than to those shared by strangers. In addition, women and girls who have undergone FGM need rapid access to services – such as health care and psychosocial support services – that are available to address the physical, emotional and psychological consequences of the practice”.

Several other international institutions, such as UN Women and the European Union, also recognize the importance of mainstreaming FGM in different sectors in order to end the practice.

The same applies to civil society. The European network End FGM, for example, has published a document promoting the “building bridges” approach as a strategy to end FGM. One of their main recommendations is to invest in awareness-raising and training of civil servants and professionals from various sectors on issues related to FGM.

“The Community of Practice on Female Genital Mutilation” is part of the “Building Bridges between Africa and Europe to tackle FGM” project, supported by the “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM”.
The project is coordinated by AIDOS in partnership with GAMS Belgium.

The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UNFPA, UNICEF or any other agency or organization.

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