Rugiatu was an expert in the discussion on Conversion of traditional cutters as a strategy to end FGM. She shared her experience of implementing this method in Sierra Leone.
Members shared the difficulties they have encountered when working with the persons who practice FGM and engaging them in the work against the practice. The first difficulty that they stressed is the actual identification of the cutters. In fact, FGM-practitioners have different identifies and are perceived in a specific way in each community where FGM is practiced. In some communities, such as in Sierra Leone, it is easy to identify them, they may even be called by a specific name:
During the discussion, there seemed to be general consensus within the CoP FGM that the conversion of excisors is not a strategy that would work in isolation, but instead would be effective if part of more holistic community approaches. Members stressed that FGM is a multi-faced societal problem that needs a multi-facet approach, with programmes that reach everyone in the society. They stressed the importance of considering the complex power structures that lie behind the practice. When conversion of cutters into alternative professions is included in this global approach, it needs close monitoring and follow-up to be sure that it is effective.
Members expressed critical voices against conversion as a strategy to end FGM.
Members shared positive experiences of working directly with traditional FGM practitioners.