Accelerating change toward zero tolerance of Female Genital
Mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) for Somalia
Listeners without borders, with the support of Forumciv and in partnership with Safer Aid Initiative, is implementing a one-year project in the Gedo area of Somalia.
Bardera is one of the major districts in Gedo region. Like the rest of the country, FGM is widespread and prevalent. Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves altering or injuring the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons. The practice poses serious risks to the health and wellbeing of girls and women and is widely recognized as a human rights violation as well as violating the rights of a child, as those undergoing the cut are between the age of 8 and 14 years. It is clearly evident that FGM/C causes physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, and social damage. Health consequences include pain and trauma and risks of hemorrhage, infection, and at worst death in some serious cases. Moreover, it has been reported with sufficient evidence that there is an increased risk of complications at childbirth, especially for young girls, putting mothers and newborns at risk. Further, FGM/C also has economic consequences for the affected families and communities and can prevent girls from accessing formal education and self-development. FGM/C is a social issue, but it has often been ignored, even in the most obvious situations where it damages health. For example, in Somalia, whilst issues such as fistula had been observed and slightly addressed, the major underlying cause – FGM/C – is yet to receive vigorous international attention to eradicate it.
Despite efforts to reduce FGM over the last years, the convention is still very prevalent and if action against the practice is further strengthened, it means that the absolute number of girls who will be cut will continue to grow if the practice continues at its current levels in Somalia and Bardera district in particular. To avert this widespread of women and child rights, Listeners without Borders (LWB) and Safer Aid Initiatives (SAI) are contributing to eliminating the practice by further strengthening the knowledge and awareness of the local communities through a set of training and vigorous community awareness and sensitization. This will be achieved through training, engaging trained change champions, use of IEC materials, in-school sessions, and sporting activities. The target group is women and men a total of 11,000 people.
The overall project goal is to “strengthen the knowledge and awareness of the local communities in FGM/C and its harmful consequences to significantly reduce its practice among communities in Bardera District, Gedo Region, South Somalia”. The project uses a holistic approach to achieve change and will strengthen the local civil society’s capacity to act as agents of change by
arranging capacity training for the rights-holders, duty bearers, and the local partner organization. Increased community awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) as a human rights and children’s rights violation and gender inequality will be achieved through arranging community meetings, conducting school events, home visits, and sporting events, and producing materials and boards with FGM messages for even greater outreach project goal is that: “Girls and women are empowered to exercise and express their rights by transforming social and gender norms in communities to eliminate FGM”. The project aims to achieve increased community awareness about FGM related to human rights and gender equality. The project goal will be achieved through activities that’ll target relevant stakeholders in the local community and capacity-strengthening staff training for the local partner. Sub-goal 1 is to: “Strengthen the capacity of Influential members of the community on FGM/C, FGM/C change champions as Change Agents and its harmful consequences and how it violates the rights of girls and women”.