End FGM at the Centre of European Week of Action for Girls

The 2018 European Week of Action for Girls puts girl advocates at the centre of debates, creating a space for them to bring concrete and implementable recommendations to EU policymakers on how the EU can champion girls’ rights, particularly ahead of the upcoming European elections of May 2019. With The EU having made strong promises to girls, newly elected EU leadership will need to take the crucial steps to ensure their priorities build on the current momentum towards greater gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

Two End FGM EU Youth Ambassadors, Hamdi Arif and Sameara Ali, together with around 30 other girls and young women coming to Brussels from all over the world, had several meetings with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and officers in the European Commission, to ensure that all EU action both internally and externally is focused on promoting girls’ right to education, to a life free of violence, to be economically empowered and to participate in decision-making processes.

Sameara and Hamdi delivered these key advocacy messages within several meetings in the European Parliament with:

  • The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group, at the presence of MEP Angelika Mlinar, ALDE coordinator on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality issues;
  • The Intergroup on Children’s Rights, a cross-party, a cross-national group of MEPs working to keep children’s rights on top of the EU agenda, at the presence of MEPs Nathalie Griesbeck, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt and Julie Ward
  • MEPs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (SW) and Julie Ward (UK) signed our Manifesto “Vote for Girls”
  • The Greens group, at the presence of MEPs Barbara Lochbihler, Linnea Engstrom and Ernest Urtasun

  • Hamdi sharing with MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (co-Chair of the Child Rights Intergroup) our recommendations - watch video below.

Hamdi also delivered a passionate and moving keynote speech within the European Parliament Committee working on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, focusing on the need for the European Union to ending all forms of violence against girls, including FGM, and ensuring that girls can equally participate in society. See full session and speech here.

Both Youth Ambassadors also had a meeting at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality (DG JUST), specifically with Policy and Legal Officers from the Gender Equality Unit and the Children’s Rights team of the Fundamental Rights Unit. Within the meeting they discussed the importance of engaging with and empowering youth coming from affected diaspora communities to eliminate FGM and they presented the work that they do as End FGM EU Youth Ambassadors.

International Day of the Girl

On the International Day of the Girl Child, our End FGM EU Ambassador Fatima Awil had a meeting at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), specifically with Policy officers working on the East and Horn of Africa both from DG DEVCO and from the European External Action Service (EEAS). Awil discussed the importance for the EU to scale up efforts to end FGM in Somalia, the country where her family originates from, where prevalence rate of FGM is 98% affecting almost all of the Somalian female population and impairing their equal participation in life and society.