39 new FGM key-figures!

On 11 and 18 March 2017 FSAN gave two important training sessions in Amsterdam. 39 new FGM key-figures were trained for the very first time about FGM. Out of this 39 FGM key-figures, there are 18 people from Eritrea, Egypt and Sierra Leone. They all live in cities where there are little or none FGM key-figures. It was a big success! The new FGM key-figures will organize 2-3 activities for each and new people will hear the message against FGM within their community.

Federatie van Somalische Associaties in Nederland (FSAN) has started a new national project against FGM. The empowerment and the expansion of the FGM key figures’ network are important goals of the project. FSAN wants to reach new cities and new African groups in the Netherlands where there are very little or none FGM key figures. These cities are Utrecht, Almere, Maastricht and several others. The target group are African communities from Eritrea, Egypt and Sierra Leone.

Why Eritrea, Egypt and Sierra Leone?

The first reason why FSAN has chosen Eritrea, Egypt and Sierra Leone as target group is because the need is huge and real. Recent figures from Unicef show a high percentage of FGM in these countries (about 80-90%). The second reason is the low participation and involvement of these communities in the fight against FGM.
In 2015, 8.434 Eritrean refugees applied for asylum in the Netherlands. Out of this group 1.237 were single and underage (fact sheet Pharos). Because of this large group, the need of information about FGM within the Eritrean community increased.
About 23.198 Egyptians (CBS, 2016) live in the Netherlands. However there are very little FGM key figures to find. Despite the high risk of FGM and the need of information, the participation and the involvement of the Egyptian community in the fight against FGM is very little, if you compare it with other African groups. One of the reasons of this phenomenon is the fragmentation of the community and the lack of cohesion among Egyptians which makes very difficult for FGM key figures to find other Egyptians.
In Sierra Leone FGM is practiced by a secret society, called “Bondo”. For this reason FGM remains a taboo and a secret to keep for many women. A lot of women are scared to talk about it. People from Sierra Leone are not willing to be involved against FGM and there are very little FGM key figures among them. This has to change.