The workshop “Guide me to stop FGM” took place in Amman, Jordan in the period 17 – 23 February 2020. The workshop was part of the KA2 project “Standing up 2 FGM” which is an inclusive and participatory project that aims in strengthening the capacities of youth workers and NGOs in work with FGM. The project aims to build strong relationship between organizations in Europe and Tunisia. It will create a network of organizations from Europe and Arabic countries in area of fighting FGM. The partner organizations in the project are coming from Tunisia, Egypt, Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, United Kingdom and of course the hosting country – Jordan.
The main aim of the workshop was the development of a guide for youth workers on FGM. In the working program were implemented also the following goals: learn everything from A-Z on FGM; history, traditions, religion and culture; reaching the communities; Art and medias; ICT and online tools; Examples of state institutions; Legislation; Best practices; Methodology in development of free resources.
During the first day of the activities, we all got to know each other, shared our fears, expectations and how we could contribute to the project. We talked more about what is FGM, the reasons why it is happening, who are the victims. how FGM is performed, who is taking the decision for doing it and how it started.
FGM is the removal of some or all of the external female genitalia of women and girls. It is practiced because of traditions, religion, culture, protection, social pressure and beliefs. The victims of FGM are mostly baby girls, few days after birth, in puberty, the girls in rural areas (mostly in Africa), etc. In the places where FGM is legal, usually they perform it in hospitals or clinics, but where it is illegal, it is done in underground places, keeping the procedure in secret, using knifes, needles or scissors. The decision could be taken by the family of the victim (mainly grandparents), community leader of the village, shaman, mothers who already undergone FGM and think it’s normal or the girls themselves.
At the second part of the activity’s day, we had two sessions, leaded by guest lectors. The first one was with Ms. Maram Sulieman who talked about the difference between gender and sex and the second was with Ms. Duha Alassaf, with who we found out the causes, the contributing factors, the consequences and the ways of supporting the victims of FGM.
On the second day of the project, divided in groups, we talked about the short- and long-term complications of FGM (physical, psychological and sexual ones). The next task was to explain to the others why we want to fight FGM and how we can do it, but we had to present only real and possible for implementation from us strategies. After our discussion, we concluded several reasons: it is violation of human rights in general and children rights in particular; it is harmful, it’s against nature, it prevents the normal life of the woman; no one should take decisions on behalf of other people about their bodies.
Later, we continued with the difference between a youth worker and an activist. We have listed the most important skills and parts of the character that are important to possess if you want to approach another person (FGM victim). We came to conclusion that it is of high importance to be emotionally stable, to have good communication skills and to be a good listener.
The third day of the project was a free time day, so we used it to visit one of the seven wonders of the world – Petra! We spent an amazing day there and we are grateful that we had the opportunity to visit such a majestic place.
On the fourth day of the project, we talked about the differences between value, beliefs and attitudes. Divided by groups, we found out what is the meaning of each of them, what are the origins of the beliefs and how do people develop value belief system. We also had a task to present how we can enable communities to change their beliefs/values/attitudes toward FGM. All the groups had great ideas, and we made the conclusion that the most important steps are: to make a research first about the target group, to select the right information and to raise awareness, to involve victims as an example, to give support and of course to have follow up activities. We also imagined situations in different communities and prepared informational campaigns and developed our messages.
The last activity for the day was leaded by Ms. Ewelina Lepionko and was about creativity. First, she gave us different objects and made us think how we can use them and list our ideas. Then, she gave us different pictures for which we had to find out what is their message and to present it to the others. The last one was how we can use the medias and the online tools for spreading our messages.
During the last day of the project we talked about the resources to help tackle FGM, the countries in which it is legal and illegal. Our final task was to fill all the information we discussed during the last few days in a form which will be used for the development of FGM guide. We also had a special session with Ms. Basma Al Nabulsi who presented us a stakeholder’s analysis, we talked about the civil society and the critical mass. She gave us really good examples and shared best practices.
Of course, we had an intercultural night, presenting the culture of three different continents. The representatives of the different countries prepared some quizzes with questions about their countries. We tried different food and we learned a lot of interesting facts and statistics.
I would like to thank Mr. Hatem Shatnawi for the great workshop, all the things we learned and the methods he used for leading the activities. Also, huge thanks to the Jordan organization “Leaders of life”, who took care of our pleasant stay in Amman.
by Eva Yoneva
Workshop “Guide me to stop FGM” in Amman, Jordan