WeSpeakOut facilitates discussion at EndFGM conference in Brussels

Masooma Ranalvi was invited to attend the EndFGM European Network's Forum to Build Bridges on FGM on November 28. 2017.

She facilitated a discussion on the topic of Building Bridges between sectors in the area of prevention.  The group was tasked with formulating concrete recommendations that can be targeted to different actors.

The EndFGM European Network background on the topic states:

In order to end FGM it is necessary to promote interaction and collaboration among stakeholders in different fields of action, which can all contribute to enhancing prevention, protection, prosecution and can effectively shape integrated policies towards the abandonment of the practice. These include national and regional institutions, governmental and public officials, civil society organisations (including women’s rights and youth movements), professionals in several sectors (health, asylum, social work, child protection, VAWG, law, law enforcement, education, journalism and media), FGM survivors, communities, as well as traditional and religious leaders. Building bridges among these multiple stakeholders, promoting cooperation and exchanges among them, is key to strengthen integrated and holistic approaches to end FGM. The parallel workshops will explore challenges and benefits of multi-sectoral approaches when dealing with prevention, protection and prosecution, with concrete examples of initiatives implementing this type of approach in different parts of the world.




The topics discussed were:


Community Work

The underlying importance of carrying forward community work at the grassroots level in terms of education and awareness building was stressed. Participants emphasized the need for additional funding to carry out this work.

It was also felt that the building of values centered around positive ideas of a woman's and girl's worth had paid dividends in some regions. 


The role of the media in carrying on FGM work cannot be belittled. Several examples were shared of how media and individual stories played important roles in building a case to end FGM.

It was felt that youth can be encouraged into the anti FGM movements by focusing on, and using, social media platforms.

Mainstream media and, especially, local, regional and vernacular media also need to be tapped into to take the stories into rural and interior areas.

Media partnerships like The End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign with The Guardian are important in globalising the issue.

Breaking Silos

While the prevalence of FGM across regions, territories and countries, and the nature of the practice, though not uniform,  falls within the classifications of WHO, the movement is divided. Each one focuses on its own cultural and traditional undercurrents. The Asian countries consider the practice in Africa as different from theirs and do not identify with the movement as such. The diversity in types and forms of the practice and regional specificities take forefront . It was felt the need to break these silos and create a broad based global platform for a unified voice and movement.

Health education

One of the most important areas of education was the health sector. Doctors, nurses, midwives, and para health professionals need a thorough grounding in understanding FGM and its overall and overarching health implications and be able to deal with cases of FGM. An example of Somalia was shared wherein they have successfully incorporated into the medical syllabus sections on FGM, and is now part of the teaching curricula for doctors and nurses. Such models can be easily replicated across the world.


There was need for research funding. Driving movements need active and real time data and research studies to sponsor them. While a lot of research has been done , a lot more needs to be done. It was felt that very little research exists on the psychological trauma caused due to FGM. Another area for research was the Type 1 and Type 4 fgm and their repurcussions.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal

Elimination of FGM by 2020 is part of SDG 5.3. It was felt that the SDGs apply to all countries and, hence, they could provide a unified framework in the global context for data collection and driving political movements to end FGM.



WeSpeakOut: For Women's Rights