The AFTER project's first and foremost objective is to fight FGM/C among migrant communities from countries where it is practiced and considered a tradition.
The second objective is to increase awareness among local policy makers about the existing risk for migrant women and girls and how to prevent it.
Above all, the project's goal is to help reduce the number of girls at risk of undergoing FGM/C in Europe.
1. Analysis and assessment of existing policies and services.
These activities will provide an overview of the situation in the different EU countries (Ireland, Italy, Spain and Sweden) involved in the project, taking into account national legislation and mapping the available social services at local level.
A multi-language factsheet will be produced and distributed among relevant institutional bodies, associations and service providers. The factsheet will be a tool to inform migrant women and girls about their rights and the available services in the city they live in.
2. Empowerment against FGM/C
AFTER has teamed up with a group of experts from different African countries, through the support of our ActionAid partners. These experts will adapt the Reflection-Action methodology for the European context. Participatory methodologies will be organized to raise awareness among women and girls about their Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and the right to have control over their bodies. Men and religious leaders, from FGM/C-affected communities living in the EU, will also be involved in discussion groups to increase men’s awareness of women’s rights and the consequences of FGM/C.
3. Lobbying and Campaigning Activities
Local, national and European institutions will have increased knowledge on effective strategies to help prevent FGM/C.
A network of “Champions for Change”; a group of activists, ambassadors and endorsers of the project’s objectives will contribute to raise awareness on FGM/C and advocate for concrete measures to prevent and combat FGM/C in the EU.
A testimony tour for each of the African Associated Partners involved will be organised in order to share the successes and challenges of the strategies used in fighting FGM/C in their countries. Each tour will aim at strengthening the advocacy and sensitisation activities targeting migrant communities foreseen by the project. These Associate Partners include: ActionAid Kenya, ActionAid Liberia, ActionAid Senegal, ActionAid Somaliland, ActionAid Tanzania, ActionAid Uganda and AkiDwA.
Activities targeting diasporic communities from FGM/C practicing countries will use participatory methodologies, consolidated over years of work with poor and marginalized communities in less developed countries.
The AFTER project will apply the Reflection-Action method, developed and widely used by ActionAid in programmes aimed at preventing and combating FGM/C in African countries, as well as empowering women in general in relation to other facets of their lives so that they can be assertive and be able to deal with the daily challenges of their lives. The entry point will be the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) which ActionAid uses in its work with women in less developed countries.
Reflection-Action is a participatory methodology used in women and men’s group discussions to help create an open, democratic environment in which everyone is able to contribute. Reflect-Action uses visual tools in order to encourage discussion so that people can develop their own learning materials. The idea of using participatory methodologies to ensure that people’s voices are heard equally, within a structured learning process and to analyse power dynamics, is integral to the approach. The project has established close collaboration with ActionAid partners based in Africa (Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, Somaliland, Tanzania and Uganda) who will be in place as they will be involved in the design of the methodology to be used with migrant communities in the EU and in the trainings.
Empowerment activities will be divided among girls’ clubs, men’s forums to better highlight the topic to different people and targets.
Taking into account the possible involvement of minors, partners’ child protection policy will inform activities and be properly implemented.
The expected overall result is that women and girls involved in the project activities will be willing to challenge and reject FGM/C thanks to an increased awareness of their rights. Men and key opinion leaders such as religious leaders and elders from at risk communities will be aware of the impact of FGM/C on the life and rights of women and girls and will mobilise against the practice.
16 empowerment paths, using participatory methodologies will be organized involving women, girls, and men.
European citizens at large will know more about this practice.
European policy makers, national and local governments and women’s organisations will be informed about successful tools that can be contextualised to suit the European situation and applied to protect those at risk and survivors of the practice.