Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a global phenomenon that has seen approximately 200 million women and girls subjected to the practice worldwide, with approximately 3.3 million girls at risk each year. It constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls, a form of violence and it is a violation of their human rights to life, dignity and health.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is also known as “female circumcision” or female genital cutting, refers to all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural and other non-therapeutic reasons. FGM/C is practiced in over 30 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Despite residing in European Union countries, migrant women and girls risk undergoing this harmful practice especially when they return to their country of origin for holidays and for visiting family.
The AFTER - Against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Through Empowerment and Rejection - project is a response to the issue of FGM/C which will last two years, ending in February 2018. It aims to combat FGM/C through community based activities in five different European countries: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Sweden through a consortium of Partners: ActionAid Italy, ActionAid Ireland, ActionAid Sweden, International Foundation Simetrias, Respect for Change, and University of Castilla la Mancha.
The project has a threefold approach: it aims to combat this significant form of violence through empowerment and rejection and, thus, to sensitise the wider European audience about the issue of FGM/C. The project will do this through the implementation of empowerment activities, which will target migrant women, girls and their communities living in the European Union, from FGM/C practicing countries. It is through these activities that the project aims to mobilise migrant women and girls to become empowered and, as a result, to reject the practice.
The project’s empowerment activities are based on Reflection-Action, a participative methodology already successfully used by ActionAid in African countries to prevent and combat this practice. Moreover, through testimonies and campaigns, the project aims to increase awareness regarding women and girls’ struggles, presenting success stories to challenge and reject FGM/C.