How to empower girls
Plan International Guinea-Bissau is working alongside local partner organisations such as Renluv to help girls to gain the knowledge and confidence to speak out about their rights and encourage communities to abandon FGM. “If I have a daughter she will not be cut. I will not allow it”, says Serem, 11.
How to campaign with ex-practitioners
We also work with ex-practitioners who earned a living by performing excision on young girls. Many community members are unaware that FGM causes health problems and even death. Having been made aware of the health risks associated with genital cutting in a way that does not shame or stigmatise them, these women have abandoned the practice and are now actively campaigning for its eradication.
How to work with religious leaders
We work in partnership with traditional and religious leaders as they are highly trusted and respected in their communities. Religious leaders are actively supporting us to challenge the perception that FGM is prescribed by Islam.
How to raise awareness through medical professionals
We work alongside specialised medical professionals to raise awareness of the health consequences of FGM and to provide medical support for women and girls suffering complications. Through successful lobbying, 2 specialised units to support women and girls that have undergone FGM have been established at regional hospitals.
How to gain support from community leaders
Community leaders often support FGM for socio-cultural reasons. Gaining their support is essential if communities are to recognise this harmful practice as a violation of girls’ rights and take the step to publicly declare the abandonment of FGM.
We also work closely with the government in Guinea-Bissau, in particular the Department of Justice and the police, to improve enforcement of the law criminalising FGM in the country.
Since the start of the European Union funded project to end FGM run in partnership with the National Committee for the Abandonment of Harmful Practices and the National Network to Combat Children and Gender-Based Violence, 5 communities have publicly abandoned the practice.
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