In Somaliland: Integrating FGM in economic empowerment projects

ISF is a human rights NGO created in 1970. Based in Finland, ISF works in Kenya, Somaliland and Nicaragua through local CSOs and builds long-term partnerships with them to strengthen local ownership and sustainability. Its strategy focuses on combating violence against women and girls, particularly FGM, and on women's economic empowerment.

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In Ireland: Integrating FGM into religious discourse

Religious leaders are highly respected within their communities in Ireland and are therefore able to influence behaviours and the adoption of social norms within these groups. Due to this, the Irish organisation AkiDwA trains religious leaders on issues surrounding FGM so as to make them real actors of change. Although the hierarchical nature of the religious structures may have given them some difficulties, the association has today been able to train nearly 70 religious leaders in the fight against FGM. They now intend to continue the debate in religious forums which are major events gathering many religious stakeholders in Ireland.

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Spain: Integrating FGM into sex education programs

UNAF has set up workshops dedicated to migrant women. Over a period of 3 hours, the speakers work on the theme of sexuality following a holistic approach and promoting a participatory methodology. Although these women are often in a very precarious economic and social situation, and their sexual and reproductive rights may appear secondary to the imperative need to meet their primary needs, experience shows that once they start working on the issue of their sexuality, women no longer stop!

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Example I : Belgium – Involving general practitioners

The work of Dr. Athena Patoulidis on the management of FGM by general practitioners (GPs) in Belgium highlighted several obstacles to the investment of practitioners on this issue: lack of knowledge and practical tools as well as fear of addressing FGM with patients and preferring to ignore the issue. GPs can, however, play a fundamental role in the prevention and care of girls and women who have undergone FGM. Dr. Patoulidis therefore set up training for practitioners based on the gaps identified in the study. She teaches general practitioners how to use the available tools as well as how to know when and how to refer them to other medical doctors as well as to specialised NGOs.

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How to mainstream FGM ?

At the conference on the systematic integration of FGM held in Paris in November 2018 by the CoP-MGF, two panels were devoted to sharing good practices in the mainstreaming of FGM in different sectors. In general, the importance of mainstreaming FGM in the concerns of governments was stressed, particularly through the creation of budget lines specifically dedicated to the fight against FGM and through the investment of multiple ministries on the issue: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women’s Rights, Social Affairs but also Ministry of Finance, Cooperation and Foreign Affairs.

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