Partnerships to Accelerate Global Action to End FGM/C by 2030

Partnerships to Accelerate Global Action to End FGM/C by 2030

Parallel event

at the virtual 65th Commission on the Status of Women on March 24, 2021
By Bertine Pries, Manager Advocacy, Amref Netherlands

This event was organised by The Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C. Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a global concern, practiced in at least 92 countries, which requires a global response. That’s why civil society organizations, activists and survivors from all continents started this Global Platform two years ago during a pre-conference at Women Deliver 2019 to build global collective action to end FGM/C by 2030.

The lively discussion on FGM/C with activists, survivors, professionals and youth from four continents was moderated by Dr. Tammary Esho, Director of the Amref Health Africa End FGM/C Centre of Excellence in Nairobi.

Religion and medicalisation
The first speaker, Atashendartini Habsjah (researcher and advocate focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls) addressed the role of religion and medicalisation in FGM/C in Indonesia. With other women’s health activists she has worked together with religious leaders, doctors and midwives who play a key role in the practice of FGM/C, and are essential stakeholders in efforts to end FGM/C. As a result of their work, Atashendartini and her colleagues have received political commitment from Ministries within the government who published guidelines on FGM/C as harmful practice.

Youth leadership
The power of youth in the global work to end FGM/C was made very clear! Aya Chebbi (pan-African feminist) and Alya Harding (Youth Ambassador for the End FGM European Network) had a lively fireside chat with Aissata Camara (Executive Vice President of There Is No Limit Foundation) about bringing young people to the table. “Facilitate inter generational discussions,” said Alya. Aya also mentioned inter-generational co-leadership: “We want to end this in our generation with the support of other generations. Put young people in leadership positions to do their work in communities and bring decision-makers in the space of young people so they can eventually championing our agenda.”

Malaika Somji, (a co-founder of the End FGM Canada Network when she was 16-years-old) stressed the importance of the role of youth in her passionate talk. “We must continue raising our voices. Our voices are the living expression of human rights. We need to mobilize across the world to advance a world of girls rights for a better future.” She emphasised that it’s about the youth carrying on the conversation and keeping the momentum alive.

Approximately every 10 seconds a girl in the world is subjected to FGM/C
Together we took a minute of silence while showing photos of women and girls who live with the consequences of FGM/C. We have to continue to keep survivors at the forefront of our work to end FGM/C.

Long-term psychological and mental health impact of FGM/C
Maryam Sheik (Kenyan survivor of FGM/C) came to Canada to protect her daughter from FGM/C. She shared her personal experience and highlighted in her TED-style talk the psychological and mental health consequences of the practice. Powerfully, she also reminded us that FGM/C is not a practice required for Muslim girls and women.

Survivor-led advocacy
Mental health was also addressed by psychotherapist Dr. Leyla Hussein (Global Advocacy Director and Deputy Team Leader of the African-led Movement to end FGM/C) and Mariya Taher (Co-Founder and US Executive Director of Sahiyo). “Name and frame the practice as violent and as a sexual assault,” said Leyla. As survivors, they provided insights in survivor-
led advocacy, to support survivors physically, emotionally and mentally and to create a safe space for them.

Silent voices
The meeting ended with an impressive poem written and performed by Josephine Kiaga (filmmaker and advocate from Tanzania).

Global Call to Action
Carey Walovich (Operations & Partnerships Manager for the U.S. End FGM/C Network) did the closing remarks on behalf of the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C and invited all participants to sign up the Global Call to Action. Again, join us!

What an inspirational, passionate and engaging discussion full of expertise and insight. This gathering of advocates showed how impactful and dedicated our community is to ending FGM/C around the world.

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700 civil society organisations & activists signed the joint letter to Generation Equality Action Coalition Leaders

The Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C has joined forces with Girls Not Brides to call on the leaders of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence (GBV) to commit to ending female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child, early and force marriage (CEFM). Both FGM/C and CEFM are forms of gender-based violence, and are violations of the human rights of women and girls. They are held in place by discriminatory gender stereotypes and norms that define the limits of a girl’s aspirations, and have devastating consequences and impacts across her life.

Sign-on to the joint letter campaign closed at midnight GMT on 25th November 2020, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

An incredible 625 civil society organisations and 75 activists from across 79 countries raised their voices by signing the joint letter.

Please read and share the final letter using the links below, available in:

English

Español

Français

Joint letter: To the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence

The Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C has joined forces with Girls Not Brides to call on the leaders of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence (GBV) to commit to ending the harmful practices of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM).

We are calling on organisations to join us in this campaign by adding your organisation’s name to our joint open letter by Wednesday 25th November. The letter and sign-on form is available here in English, en español, ou en français.

With 10 years remaining to achieve the 2030 Agenda, the Generation Equality Forum provides an opportunity to take stock of progress made on ending GBV and harmful practices and to make a renewed push for accelerated action on  the Beijing Platform for Action and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.3. By standing together to address CEFM and FGM/C we can work towards a a world where women and girls live free from violence and can achieve their full potential.

Let’s ensure Generation Equality is a generation free from harmful practices.

Please share this with your network by retweeting us. The more organisations that sign on to this letter, the louder our voices will be for change.

We hope that you will join us. Together, we can end FGM/C and child marriage.

Sign the letter in English, en español, ou en français.

Image credit: Orchid Project. A village chief in Kenya, whose community is discussing female genital cutting through the work of COVAW.