Our UKAid-funded programme, The Girl Generation, is working tirelessly to bring together organisations, activists, and civil society to end FGM through an Africa-led movement. The goal of The Girl Generation is to transform the social norms underpinning FGM so that it is brought to an end in one generation.
To challenge and change the deeply embedded social norms surrounding FGM, whole communities need to be engaged in the dialogue and empowered to end the practice.
In 2016, with support funding from the Human Dignity Foundation we launched the End FGM Grants Programme. The programme empowers small, local organisations to implement social change initiatives towards ending FGM through funding and capacity building.
One of these organisations is the Child and Environmental Development Association (CEDAG) from The Gambia, a country with the highest prevalence rate of girls 14 and younger having been cut (56%).
CEDAG have used their grant to raise awareness and increase communication and advocacy among religious and community leaders, about Gambian laws and the health and psychological risks of FGM. They do this by conducting peer group discussions in schools, roundtable discussions and advocacy meetings with community and religious leaders, and end FGM radio programmes.
Sariba Saidy, from CEDAG, says: "Community leaders are claiming ownership in assuring that the practice of FGM is denounced within their community."
She attributes this achievement to the social change communications training provided by The Girl Generation.
“The community members are taking the lead in the abandonment of FGM because of the increased knowledge and better understanding they have on the issue” she says. “The training has helped us to use the best and most appropriate communication approach during our dialogue meetings with the targeted groups. The community leaders, religious leaders and women’s groups, who are influential in their communities, are now ready to take the lead to end FGM through community consultative meetings, ‘Bantaba’ talk shows and radio programmes.”
Community members have also held peer group discussions in schools with the participation of teachers. People from the community health centre facilitate the sessions, as well as religious and opinion leaders within the region. The participants were able to have one-to-one discussions about FGM and asked questions in order to pass the information and knowledge to their fellow students.
"As a result of these groups, the number of FGM ambassadors in these schools has increased. The group can now freely discuss and talk about FGM in a more appropriate and acceptable way. These students will then carry on these discussions with their parents and other community members."
Since the beginning of the End FGM grants programme, 120 grants have been awarded, with a total of $1.3 million released to grantees. The grants are funding activities with extensive reach and impact – reaching over 35,000 beneficiaries in Kenya, The Gambia and Nigeria since 2016. It has also launched in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal. These activities include marches, community education, youth leadership, and the use of radio and media to amplify positive stories to inspire others to ensure girls are protected from FGM.
Read more about what The Girl Generation has achieved in their 2016-2017 Impact Report.