What have the Ambassadors been up to lately?
What have the Ambassadors been up to lately?

Fiona Coyle, the Director

Today is International Women’s Day. A day where we highlight, reflect on, promote, and celebrate the contributions of women past and present. It ’s a day where we stand up, making our voices louder and collectively demand a better world for all women. For those working against female genital mutilation every day is one where we fight for equality. Often, we make progress. And sometimes we see our efforts regress. Today as we reflect on our achievements and challenges I automatically think about the wonderful End FGM Youth Ambassadors - a group of young women leaders from five European countries. These young people want change, they want a world free of FGM. Their enthusiasm, passion and commitment to End FGM makes me think this will be a reality in the near future. In this newsletter, we celebrate their commitment and encourage them to always go one step further. 

"We are engaging with the next generation of activists"

"We realised at the Network that our commitment to end FGM in Europe and beyond would be more complete and sustainable through mobilizing and engaging the next generation of activists.

This is why two years ago we created the End FGM EU Youth Ambassadors Programme, to provide a common platform for diaspora girls and young women living in different European countries to come together, share their experiences and build a unified youth-led European movement to end FGM. 2019 will be a year full of youth actions, where the End FGM EU Youth Ambassadors will be involved in writing a Youth Engagement Manifesto, take part at national level in our European Elections Campaign to ask candidates to keep working to ending FGM, and will be implementing a European awareness raising project created by and for them!", Chiara Cosentino, Coordinator of the Youth Ambassadors Programme.

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The importance of youth engagement

Hadeel has attended the "Policy for Progress" Conference in the UK on ending FGM and child marriage, where she delivered a speech on the importance of Youth Engagement. She also took part in the Tuwezeshe Fellowship, a young African women’s programme focusing on gender-based violence in African communities supported by Forward. As part of it she received training on a number of issues related to African women and violence against women and girls. Following the fellowship, she curated a photography exhibition as part of the UN’s annual 16 days of activism against VAW campaign, which was held at her university.

Daring to talk publicly about FGM

Ana and Fatucha both organised a university event in Portugal based on female intimate hygiene, as a taboo topic that needs to be demystified. Ana was invited to speak at a Zero Tolerance Day conference in Madrid organised by UNAF, where she spoke in a youth panel. On the 9th February they worked with young activists to organise a debate on FGM. They also attended a conference in Lisbon. Ana participated in the End FGM EU’s #MyVoiceMatters Campaign. Moreover, Fatucha worked with the Ubuntu organisation, where she spoke about her own experiences of FGM and her need to speak out and not to be silenced anymore.

Debunking misconceptions about Female Genital Mutilation

VIDEO - Aicha conducted street interviews in France on the subject of FGM, as part of an Equipop project. She was also involved in a video project that aimed to debunk misconceptions about FGM - they created 6 videos in total in the lead up to Zero Tolerance Day for FGM (6thFebruary), together with Salamata. Aicha works with a youth group in her home town, Orléans, where she did an FGM presentation for the youth group, and screened the film Desert Flower. She also took part in a project called “Partir Pour Grandir”, which uses poetry and slam to raise awareness on wider issues, in this case FGM. Together with Ana from Portugal, she spoke at a Zero Tolerance Day conference in Madrid, organised by UNAF, member of The End FGM European Network.

Learning to advocate for women and girls rights

Salamata also took part in the video project that aimed to debunk misconceptions about FGM, in France. Together with Equipop they created six videos in total in the lead up to Zero Tolerance Day for FGM, and in the ‘Kaye dit non’ exhibition in Paris on the 6th of February. In addition, she also travelled to a village in Morocco where she dedicated her time and energy in helping to build a school, and an adult learning centre for women.

Climbing London's stadium to raise money for Somalia

Sameara created a fundraising activity for women and children in Somalia. The event involved climbing the O2 stadium building in London. She is part of the FORWARD Youth Advocates, she has been organising and taking part in the Women’s Hub, which she spoke about at the last meeting in September. Sameara also took part together with Hamdi in the European Week of Action for Girls (EWAG) activities in Brussels in October 2018, and together with Hadeel to the UK Conference Policy for Progress in London in November 2018. She also 

Learning on how to advocate for women and girls rights

VIDEO - Hamdi took part in the European Week of Action for Girls (EWAG) in October in Brussels. In this framework, she went to Brussels and participated in an advocacy workshop on how to lobby the EU institutions in view of the 2019 elections, where she met young activists from different parts of the world. Moreover, she had several meetings with MEPs, with the European Commission and she delivered a speech on the importance of supporting and empowering girls and against violence against them at a hearing at the European Parliament FEMM Committee.

Supporting grassroots community work

"The End FGM European Network Ambassadors are individuals with a personal connection to female genital mutilation and a strong dedication to end the practice. 

We believe that working directly with affected communities is the most effective way to change perspectives on FGM and encourage practicing communities to reject the harmful practice.

The Programme enables Ambassadors to share experiences, stories and discuss the various ways of working to end FGM. The Network is also able to provide Ambassadors access into the discussions surrounding FGM at European level", Isma Benboulerbah, Coordinator of the Ambassadors Programme.

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Raising awareness at high institutional level

Fatima Awil was in Geneva, Switzerland, for the meeting “Translating political decisions into national and grassroots action reaching the goal of Zero Tolerance to FGM by 2030”. She presented her work as an Ambassador and activist against FGM. She also met H.E. Madame Sika Kaboré, the First Lady of Burkina Faso and Goodwill Ambassador of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Girls.

Using art to fight discrimination

Fatou Diatta aka. the singer Sister Fa was in Bonn, Germany, for a panel discussion on FGM organised by GIZ. She also performed during a concert the same day and you can follow her work on here on her website. Sister Fa uses art to raise awareness on FGM and violence against women. 

Involving the activism communities at once

Fatima Dia and Roukiatou Sissoko were in Paris, France, to present their work as committed activists against FGM. They promoted the importance of the Building Bridges between Africa and Europe’s strategy, during the meeting “Prévenir et Protéger” organised by fourteen French organisations.

Building bridges between Europe and Africa

Oumou Diallo, was invited by Pharos to give a speech on her work against FGM. She is involved with both European and African organisations and is committed to create a synergy between these two continents to put an end to FGM in all parts of the world. 

Rue d'Edimbourg 26, B-1050 Ixelles
Tel. +32 (0) 2 893 0907 - info@endfgm.eu
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