The Community of practice on female genital mutilation (cop fgm)

Created in 2016, this CoP is coordinated by the Italian NGO AIDOS in partnership with the Belgian NGO GAMS Belgium, and funded by the UNICEFF-UNFPA Joint Program on Female Genital Mutilation-Excision: Accelerating Change. This joint program was set up in 2008 with the overall objective of contributing to the elimination of FGM in one generation. It is currently the world’s largest program to combat FGM.

This CoP is part of the project «Building bridges between Africa and Europe to end FGM», conducted by AIDOS. It aims to increase the effectiveness of actions against FGM, and to improve the living conditions of women and girls affected by FGM, in particular by creating bridges between different actors: CSOs, professionals from various sectors (medical, psychosocial, media, etc.) and the communities directly affected by FGM (in Africa and in the diaspora). It is from that perspective that the Community of Practice on Female Genital Mutilation (CoP FGM) was created in 2016. It’s a network bringing together professionals from Africa and Europe to improve the quality of prevention and support for women / girls affected by FGM in the world. It enables members to exchange within the frame of mutual learning, of strengthening links and exchange of good practice.

Phase I of the COP (2016-2017)

The first year of the CoP was dedicated to its implementation, and the CoP was officially launched in February 2017.

The main activity of this phase was to improve the quality of psycho-sexual care for women and girls affected by FGM in Europe and Africa, by strengthening the capacity of professionals to provide quality care, and through better knowledge of existing approaches in Africa and Europe. In this context, a mapping of the psychological, sexological and social support activities of women concerned by FGM has been launched. The aim was to identify multidisciplinary initiatives, projects and centers that support women and girls who have undergone FGM in a psycho-sexual and social setting, in Europe and Africa. A Webinar on the theme « Multidisciplinary support to women affected by FGM » was also organized.

In addition to this main activity, many discussions were initiated by members in the group, and the implementation of the CoP has continued (creation of the blog and an expert repertory). At the end of Phase I of the project, the CoP already had almost 180 members, about half of them in Africa, the other half in Europe and some in other continents.

Phase II of the CoP (Sept 2018 – 2020)

The CoP initiated new activities for the second phase of the project. Thus, discussions on a specific theme are launched regularly. These discussions aim to promote the exchange of knowledge and good practices. An information note providing information on the chosen topic, resources and questions for the debate is shared with the members of the CoP at the beginning of the discussion and published on the blog, and each thematic discussion is accompanied by experts. Their role is to bring their expertise on the subject to the members of the CoP. At the end of the debate, a summary of the discussion is sent to members and published on the blog, in order to preserve and highlight the collective knowledge produced.

Face-to-face workshops and meetings are also organized, as was the case of the conference held in Paris on 27 November 2018 on the theme « Towards systematic integration of efforts to end FGM ». Finally, a Charter of the CoP FGM was drafted in a participatory manner by the members of the CoP. Now, each member must commit to respect it to join the Community.