June - September 2016

Dear friends, 

We are happy to present our newsletter covering the Secretariat and members' activities over the last four months, as well as developments relating to FGM at the EU and international levels. Enjoy reading and follow us on Fabebook and Twitter.
Secretariat Updates
• Conference: Gender-related Vulnerabilities in the EU Asylum Procedures: Spotlight on FGM, 8 November 2016
On the 8th of November, the End FGM European Network is organising a conference on FGM in the EU asylum procedures. The conference is organised as part of our 2016 focus on asylum and builds on the capacity building seminar on asylum and FGM that took place in June. Read why we are organising this conference and see the draft programme here. Online registration is open until October 28th. The final programme will be available soon.
• Council of Europe Drafting Group on Female Genital Mutilation meeting
The Network participated in the meeting of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Human Rights Drafting Group on Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage which took place 21-23 September in Strasbourg. Representing civil society at the meeting, the Network contributed to the drafting of a guide to good and promising practices on preventing and combating FGM and forced marriage. The guide aims to provide practical guidance to national policy makers on how to put in place a comprehensive approach to ending these harmful practices. Read the meeting report.
• Council of Europe Conference on the Gender Equality Strategy
The Network participated in the Council of Europe's Conference "Are we there yet: Assessing progress, inspiring action - the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017” in Tallinn 30 June - 1 July. National authorities, professionals, experts and civil society came together to discuss the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy, highlight progress and impact, and exchange ideas for the preparation of the next Strategy. 
• European Commission Member States Gender Experts meeting 
In July, our Director, Liuska Sanna, participated in the Gender Experts meeting organised by the European Commission, with the participation of Member States, UN Women and civil society representatives. The participants discussed the implementation of the Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 and the possibilities for synergies between EU institutions, Member States and NGOs.
• European Development Days 2016
The Network attended the European Development Days 2016Clara Caldera, Board member of the Network and AIDOS Programme Officer, participated in a panel discussion on 'Tipping the scale on female genital cutting: Using the Sustainable Development Goals to highlight and address the true scale of female genital cutting worldwide'. 
• Couleur Cafe Festival 2016
The Network along with members GAMS and Intact took part in the Couleur Cafe Festival Solidarity Village on women’s rights. We were happy to see people of all ages interested in learning more and discussing about FGM in Europe and worldwide.
• Articles on FGM featuring the Network
Our Advocacy and Communications Officer has been interviewed by several news outlets:
Mutilação não é tradição, é violência (in Portuguese)
French Clinic Takes on Female Circumcision 
Outside Paris, a clinic aims to tackle an age-old practice

Upcoming
• End FGM European Network Conference, Brussels, 8 November
Our conference on Gender-related Vulnerabilities in the EU Asylum Procedures will take place on November 8th in Brussels. See the programme and register by October 28th.
• UK National FGM Centre Conference, London, 12 October 
Our Advocacy and Communications Officer will be speaking at the UK National FGM Centre’s conference "From Innovation to Practice; A Year of Learning" on tackling FGM in the EU.
• ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Brussels, 13-14 October
Our Director will participate in the meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment. Participants will discuss 'Female genital mutilation: how to eradicate it.'
• EASO Workshop on FGM, Valletta, 25-26 October
The Network has been invited to attend the EASO Workshop on Country of Origin Information (COI) and FGM taking place in Malta.

Project Updates
• Change Plus
The second coordination meeting of the project partners took place in September in Amsterdam hosted by FSAN. Our Director, Liuska Sanna, attended the meeting. The project aims to promote behaviour change towards the abandonment of FGM in practising communities across the EU. The partners have recently published 'Responding to Female Genital Mutilation: A Guide for Key Professionals”, a brochure which includes information on EU legislation and strategies. The brochure is also available in French, Italian and Portuguese.The Change Plus team has also produced a new Training Manual for Facilitators. First developed within the Change pilot Project, the manual has been revised and updated. More information is available here. Terre des Femmes, our member and coordinator of the project, has been training Change Agents, active community members who will advocate for the abandonment of FGM within their own communities. The first session was held in Berlin and the second in Berlin and Lisbon. Meet the Change Agents and Change Champions, experienced Change Agents acting as mentors in this second phase of the project.
• United to End FGM Web Knowledge Platform (UEFGM)
UEFGM, a free e-learning tool providing training, information and practical advice on
FGM to professionals, will be launched in February 2017. In June, the Network attended a project meeting in Madrid where the final preparations for the launch of the website were discussed. All 13 training modules covering topics such as health, asylum, education and child protection, and the country information pages offering comprehensive information on FGM in 11 countries are now finalised. The partners are currently developing a promotional leaflet and video which will be available soon. Follow UEFGM on Facebook and Twitter for more updates on our progress!
EU Developments
• European Parliament: Reception of female refugees and asylum seekers in the EU: Case study Belgium and Germany
new study commissioned by the European Parliament examines how gender related aspects and the reception needs of vulnerable groups are considered in practice in Munich and Brussels. Our member GAMS Belgium contributed to the report. The study found that female refugees can be exposed to multiple forms of gender-based violence at every stage of flight, such as violence at the hands of family or the community, including FGM. The authors recommend providing training for reception staff on asylum policies and gender, and strengthening support for NGOs and associations that provide counselling services.
• FEMM opinion on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2015
The European Parliament’s FEMM Committee has adopted an opinion on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2015. The FEMM Committee condemns all forms of violence against women and girls, including FGM. It welcomes the growing momentum across the EU of the movement to eradicate FGM and notes that Member States are gradually making positive changes in their legal systems in order to criminalise both the act of carrying out FGM and the act of taking a child or a young woman out of the EU to a third country for the purpose of FGM. It urges Member States which have not already done so to ensure that their criminal legislation protects girls and women from FGM.
• EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2015
In July, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released its Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union in 2015. In 2015, almost 1.4 million applications for international protection were made in the EU+. The report includes on overview of developments in 2015 in main countries of origin, including the situation regarding FGM in Eritrea, Nigeria, and Somalia.
• Common European Asylum System reforms
In July, the European Commission presented the second series of proposals reforming the Common European Asylum System. They presented proposals for a new Asylum Procedures Regulation and a new Qualification Regulation, and a proposal to reform the Reception Conditions Directive. Read the press release.
• European Commission Calls for Proposals
The European Commission has several open calls for proposals under the Justice Programme and the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, including on projects to enhance the rights of victims of crime, and support to integrated and multidisciplinary child-centred approaches to child victims of violence. 

European & International Developments
• PACE Equality report on Female genital mutilation in Europe 
The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination has adopted a report on Female genital mutilation in Europe. The members of the Assembly stressed that “awareness-raising, information and education campaigns must include both women and men in the communities concerned and must dissociate these practices from religion, gender stereotypes and the cultural beliefs which perpetuate discrimination against women.” The draft text will be debated and put to the vote during the PACE plenary meeting on 13 October. The End FGM European Network was happy to contribute to the report.
• UNICEF: Majority of men and women oppose Female Genital Mutilation in countries where practice persists     
New data released by UNICEF reveal that the majority of men and women in countries where FGM persists, in fact oppose the practice. In countries with available data, 67% of girls and women and 63% of boys and men oppose the continuation of the practice in their communities. In some countries, such as Guinea and Sierra Leone, more men than women oppose FGM.
• UN Human Rights Council Resolutions on FGM 
The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a Resolution on the elimination of female genital mutilation. The Resolution recognises FGM as an act of violence against women and girls and urges Member States to place special emphasis on education of youth, parents and religious, traditional and community leaders and especially to encourage men and boys to become agents of change. It also urges States to adopt national legislation prohibiting FGM and to take steps to ensure its strict application, as well as develop, support and promote education programmes including on sexual and reproductive health.
• WHO Europe Action Plan
The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s ‘Action Plan for sexual and reproductive health: towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Europe – leaving no one behind’ was adopted during the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. The Action Plan is intended to accelerate progress towards improving sexual and reproductive health in line with the European health and well-being policy framework and has been elaborated in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
• Russia report + EN 
A report by the Russian Justice Initiative (RJI) has found that FGM is prevalent among several communities in Dagestan, Russia and that tens of thousands of women and girls have undergone FGM in the region since the 1970s. Girls in Dagestan are usually cut before they turn 3. The report is now available in English.
Members' Updates
• GAMS Belgium:
GAMS Belgium has contributed to a study commissioned by the European Parliament on the ‘Reception of Female Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the EU: Case Study Belgium and Germany’. The study outlines the legal framework and examines how gender related aspects and the reception needs of vulnerable groups are considered in practice in Munich and Brussels. On 18 November, GAMS and INTACT are organising a conference on mental health and gender violence in the context of asylum. The key speaker is Dr Muriel Salmona, specialist of trauma caused by GBV. 
• Equipop (France):
As a partner in the Change Plus project, Equipop has identified six Change Agents from Mali, Senegal, Mauritania and Guinea who will raise awareness among their communities and contribute to end the practice of FGM. Equipop will be running training sessions from September to December 2016. The Change Agents’ first meeting took place in July and two training sessions already took place in September. Equipop has also been supporting Excision parlons-en! in launching a campaign targeting teenagers to promote the abandonment of FGM. Equipop’s Malian partner association continues its work on sensitization about FGM and early marriage in 150 villages in the Kayes region. During the summer, about twenty new villages committed to abandon FGM. Equipop has been interviewed for two articles on FGM in France: Voice of America and Religion News Service.
• Excision, parlons-en! (France):
Launched under the slogan “Sexisme, pas notre genre” (“Sexism, not my style”), the Ministry in charge of families, women and children’s Action Plan aims to show off sexist attitudes in the French society and put the light on actions which fight sexism. This campaign will last 6 months, from 8th September 2016, to 8th March 2017. Excision, parlons-en! is part of the Action Plan through two of its projects, the awareness campaign against FGM targeting teenagers and United to END FGM: European Knowledge Platform for Professionals dealing with Female Genital Mutilation. Excision, parlons-en! has been working with its network on a national campaign to inform and sensitize French teenagers on the risk of FGM during the summer break. This campaign, the first of this kind in France, will be launched in February 2017.
• FI-KI (Sweden):
FI-KI has launched a new project providing training to eight persons from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Bolivia and Syria on FGM, its consequences and the relevant legal framework. They will also develop their presentation skills and participate in seminars. FI-KI continues to work with newly arrived migrants in Sweden.
• FORWARD (UK):
Forward has launched a new international project, their biggest ever in Africa. The three year project is aimed at amplifying actions to improve the rights of East African girls and young women to be free from all forms of violence, targeting Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Somaliland and UK-African Diaspora. Forward has called for compulsory sex and relationship education in UK schools and commented on the death of a Sierra Leone girl after FGM and the first FGM statistics in the UK. Forward is organising an accredited training for Professionals and Frontline Staff on Responding to FGM is on 27/10 and a conference on tackling FGM in schools on 3/11.  
• International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH) (Belgium):
ICRH has been working on a DAPHNE project, ‘Towards a better estimation of prevalence of female genital mutilation in the European Union (FGM-PREV)’, which ends March 2017. The project aims to optimise prevalence estimations in Europe, by developing a common definition on FGM prevalence, a common methodology and minimum standards for prevalence estimates of FGM in the EU, in order to generate comparable data. A methodology for indirect estimations of the prevalence of FGM was already developed, and an estimation for European countries was produced. The results of this indirect estimation have just been published in the European Journal for Contraception and Reproductive Health Care. A method for direct estimation has also been designed. This methodology is currently being tested in Belgium and Italy and results are expected in early 2017. For more information, contact Els Leye, els.leye@ugent.be. 
• LebKom (Germany):
Lebkom has carried out training for 100 participants in Kisii County, Kenya, where FGM prevalence is 96%. The participants have since set up a centre on FGM in the region with the support of the education authority and the mayor. About 300 women and men have visited so far for information, advice and support on what they can do to protect the girls in their families from FGM. In July, Lebkom took part in the second session of INTEGRA, the German Network against FGM. The next Working Group on FGM, involving federal states, Germany's national government and NGOs, and led by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, will be held in December. Lebkom’s exhibition "Wonder of the Female Body – FGM in Africa - How to achieve a sustainable cultural change" will be in Marburg Town Hall from 01-20. Nov. 2016.
• Terre des Femmes (Germany):
In June, TDF participated in the Network’s capacity building seminar on FGM and asylum, and attended a meeting organized by the European Commission bringing together representatives of different EU-funded projects, which aim at ending violence against women. TDF also attended the second coordination meeting of the EU-funded project “United to END FGM: European Knowledge Platform for Professionals dealing with FGM”. TDF is also participating in the Change Plus project as coordinators. The brochure on responding to FGM, developed within the previous CHANGE project, has been updated and translated in three new languages, and an EU-wide version has been developed with an additional part on EU legislation and strategies. A training manual for facilitators has also been published. Two training sessions for Change Agents have already taken place at TDF’s headquarter in Berlin in August and September. In July, TDF held a meeting with the Head of Berlin’s Criminal Police Department to inform about FGM, especially in Berlin, and to discuss the role of the criminal police in the protection of girls and women at risk. TDF is also participating in a German-wide data collection on FGM, financed by the German Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior, Women and Youth and coordinated by the German network INTEGRA. TDF coordinated the study in Berlin. Data collection finished in June and the evaluation report is expected for October 2016.
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