This week, just over one year on from our launch, we unveil our new strategic plan. After months of consultation and deep reflection we are convinced that we now have the framework that will draw us closer to our vision of ending FGM in one generation. The strategy provides us with direction and allows us to share a common purpose. For us, it’s at the driving force behind The Girl Generation brand.
But how did we get here? Since our launch in October 2014, we have worked with a truly inspirational range of young women’s rights and FGM activists from grassroots to INGOs and media partners across the most affected countries in Africa. We have seen a hunger for opportunities to learn about what works, and a demand for bringing together the many different actors involved in the movement to end FGM. Our tagline – “Together to end FGM” – has been naturally adopted in existing national forums in several countries as well as on social media. We have been encouraged by the enthusiasm and energy behind the idea of a focused communications initiative on ending FGM, and the role that a unifying brand such as The Girl Generation can play. We consulted with our strategic advisors, talked, listened, and worked hard to understand the priorities of grassroots activists, and what role we can play in supporting them. We’ve also understood further what we shouldn’t try to do – a highly valuable learning in itself.
Following this learning period, we regrouped and identified opportunities and gaps which helped us pin-point where we can truly add value with limited resources. This was no easy task - but thanks to our highly motivated team of staff and consortium members- we believe the strategy reflects what the Africa-led movement to end FGM are looking for to strengthen their work, and where they have seen the gaps in resources available to them. We also learnt that the role of social change communications in bringing about fundamental change in social norms is a relatively new field, with limited evidence to inform us at this stage. As such, this strategy is a live document, which will be adapted and refined as we learn from the results – including unintended consequences - of this work. Through this learning we will continually refine our strategy. This is a conscious decision - strategy critics maintain that strategic plans fail to predict discontinuities, destroy commitment, and create spurious formality for something that should be much more spontaneous. For us, we will spur spontaneity in our work by learning, refining and continually making choices about how to prioritise the limited resources of money, time and people.
The challenge is to ensure, both in the content of the plan and the method of its implementation, that our approach has been to make the process inclusive, kept the document short, fixed our focus on selected priorities which have been driven by a shared vision, with an intention to ensure that the outcome is significant and memorable. And by doing this, we believe this strategy delivers our brand- a common purpose through which, together, we can end FGM on one generation.
So what does our strategy involve? Our overall goal is to contribute to the transformation in the social norms underpinning FGM, and an end to FGM in one generation. Between 2015 and 2020, we aim to achieve accelerated and sustained social change in ten of the most affected countries in Africa, and beyond.
To do this, our strategy will deliver four outputs, each contributing to strengthening the Africa-led, global movement to end FGM. These are:
Output 1: An Africa-led, global collective of organisations working together to End FGM.
Output 2: Partners delivering effective social change communications to end FGM.
Output 3: Amplified positive stories of change build the global movement to end FGM at all levels.
Output 4: FGM mainstreamed on the global development agenda.
By Global Director, The Girl Generation, Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell