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AFRO-NETS> European Network for the Prevention of FGM in Europe

European Network for the Prevention of FGM in Europe

Dear subscribers,

This message is to inform you of a new project entitled "European
Network for the Prevention of FGM in Europe", that started December 1,
1999. The following is a short project description.

In 1998, the International Centre for Reproductive Health has carried
out a study on FGM in Europe, with funds from the European Commission
(DAPHNE), and in collaboration with the Royal Tropical Institute of
Amsterdam and Defence for Children International the Netherlands. This
first project year consisted mainly of a desk-study, inventorising FGM
related problems in Europe. Recommendations on eradication strategies
have been discussed by 50 experts in the field, coming from Europe and
Africa, during an expert meeting in Ghent, Belgium (November 1998) and
were then submitted to the European Commission. One of these
recommendations was that, in order to handle FGM related problems in
Europe efficiently, all efforts done at various levels all over Europe
would greatly benefit from networking. In order to implement such a
network, a project proposal was written, submitted to and approved by
the European Commission. The programme will be carried out in
partnership with Immigration Services Administration of Goteborg,
Sweden. This "Goteborg Project" has worked for 5 years on FGM, in
cooperation with professionals, CBOs, NGOs etc. In 1998, they organised
the Second Study Conference on FGM in Europe.

Objectives of the forthcoming project are:
1) to exchange educational materials and experiences at community level;

2) to disseminate models of good practices;
3) to harmonise the various existing training and management guidelines
for health professionals;
4) to harmonise research efforts done in Europe.
5) to implement the final recommendations as formulated at the expert
meeting of November 1998.

To reach the set objectives, we will use the following methodology:
The objectives have been divided into 3 units, which are described in
detail below. Each unit focusses on one particular segment of actors in
the field.

Unit 1: Health Care Sector
Objective: To develop a framework for training of health care
professionals and management of genitally mutilated women.Several
guidelines for the training of health care personnel and management of
FGM patients exist throughout Europe. Medical experts at the FGM Ghent-
expert meeting, recommended the consitution of a committee that should
review, evaluate and harmonise existing guidelines from countries (e.g.
Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, Italy)

and organisations (e.g. Rainbow, the Inter-African Committee on Harmful
Traditional Practices (IAC), British Royal College of Obstetricans and
Gynaecologist (RCOG)), and use their findings as a basis for developing
a framework for European guidelines, which can be adapted to suit
individual countries.

Unit 2: NGO's and CBO's
Objective: To exchange information and models of good practice at
community level.
Based on the findings of the first project year, it became clear that
some countries in Europe developed considerable experience in
information, education and communication (IEC)-activities, training and
advocacy with regard to the prevention of FGM among African women and
girls living in Europe (such as: UK, Sweden, France). These projects
could serve as models of good practice to those countries where projects

just started (e.g. Spain), or to countries where the awareness for the
problem of FGM has not been raised yet (e.g. Greece) or is simmering
(e.g. Ireland, Belgium).Several NGO's and activists in the field have
expressed the need for such an exchange of good practices, IEC, training

and advocacy at various occasions (Dakar Inter-African Committee General

Assembly, November 1997; Goteborg 2nd Study Conference, July 1998;
Ghent, FGM expert meeting, November 1998), and it was also one of the
recommendations of the latter expert meeting.

A co-ordinated initiative to bring together available resources in
Europe, could join the efforts done by several NGO's and community based

organisations, and lower their costs by e.g. exchanging educational
materials, discuss prevention strategies, exchange educational
activities, etc. The workshops will also promote consultation, dialogue
and collaboration between NGO's, CBO's, the academic world and health

Unit 3: Academic level
Objective: To set a research agenda
Based on the findings from the first project year, we concluded that
until now, only the University of Padua in Italy and more recently, the
University of Ghent (International Centre for Reproductive Health) in
Belgium, have done some research on FGM among African migrants in
Europe. The University of Barcelona, Spain expressed their intention of
interest in carrying out research.
Setting a harmonised research agenda could facilitate the comparison of
data collected, and could set research priorities for Europe. Suggested
research topics by the Ghent-expert meeting included research on the
forming and adaptation of the identity of immigrant and refugee groups
in relation to FGM and other traditional practices.

For more information on the 1998 project, you can visit our website
where a report is available.
If you have any questions, or if you need more details on the 2000
project, please contact me at the (e-mail) address mentioned below.

Yours sincerely

Els Leye
International Centre for Reproductive Health
University Hospital
De Pintelaan 185 P3
9000 Gent
Tel +32-9-240.35.64
Fax +32-9-240.38.67

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