SPRING/SUMMER 2016
Secretariat Updates
• General Assembly & Capacity Building Seminar
We held our General Assembly on 3 June 2016. We discussed membership criteria and welcomed a new associate member, the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH Belgium). The General Assembly also voted on the annual accounts, activity and audit reports for 2015 and the work plan and budget for 2016. Four members of the board stood for re-election to remain on the board and were voted in unanimously. Following the General Assembly, the members shared their experiences on four different issues: Building bridges, Health, Youth involvement and Education and exchanged best practices. 

On 1st and 2nd June the Network held a capacity-building seminar on FGM and asylum. Using our guide to FGM in the EU Asylum Directives, our Network members had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the three Directives covered by the guide, strengthen their knowledge on FGM as a ground for asylum and the difficulties faced by women asylum seekers in accessing international protection, and discuss with representatives of UNHCR and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). You can find the agenda, presentations and relevant documents here
• Guide on FGM in the EU Asylum Directives 
The End FGM European Network has produced a guide on FGM in the EU Asylum Directives. The guide highlights the relevant provisions in the Asylum Procedures, Reception Conditions and Qualification Directives. It aims to explain the application of the three asylum directives in an accessible manner to civil society representatives working with those affected by FGM.
• EIGE Consultation Meeting
We took part in the consultation meeting organised by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) on 16th and 17th March 2016 on good practices for the collection of administrative data on violence against women. We participated in the FGM working group which chose four good practices on the collection of administrative data on female genital mutilation from Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK. Browse EIGE's collection on good practices per topic/tool/country here.
• ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the European Parliament
Our director Liuska Sanna participated in an exchange of views at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the European Parliament on 17th March. The Network highlighted the existing EU and international commitments on FGM, the challenges that still remain and how a holistic approach is needed, and pointed out how parliamentarians can work together to promote global initiatives on FGM and reflect on ways to facilitate a “building bridges” approach (EU diaspora and countries of origin) through coherent policies and sustainable, transcontinental funding.
• WHO Consultation Meeting
The Network participated in a consultation meeting with civil society organisations on an inter-agency package for the prevention of violence against children held by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva on 6th April. Part of this exercise involved reflecting on lessons learnt from existing programmes and a discussion on how the package can support the work of civil society organisations. 
• Contribution to UNFPA/UN Women background paper
The network are part of the advisory board contributing to UNFPA/UN Women background paper on the policy links between gender, violence against women and girls, and FGM. The purpose of the background paper was to inform the development of a paper on policy elements essential to ending FGM/C as a form of violence against women and girls, which is currently being drafted. 
• European Commission Meeting on Violence Against Women: Learning for meaningful change
On 6 June, the European Commission invited beneficiaries of recently completed and ongoing projects on violence against women that have received funding through the Progress and Daphne Programmes to discuss their successes and challenges. The Network and four of our members participated. This discussion will be used by the European Commission to inform them on how future project funding should be directed. Read the Commission's report on the meeting.
• European Parliament hearing on eradicating FGM
Our Board President, Naana Otoo-Oyortey, was invited to a speak at a hearing of the 
Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality at the European Parliament on 24 May on eradicating FGM. Watch the hearing here.
• Reaction to The Economist article ‘Female genital mutilation: an agonising choice
Read our press release on an article published in The Economist suggesting that governments should ban the ‘worst forms’ of FGM and instead ‘try to persuade parents to choose the least nasty version’.

*** Missed our launch party and seminar on the best interests of the child in January? Watch a short video of the party here and read the report on our seminar here ***
Projects Updates
• Change Plus
The Change Plus kick off meeting took place in Berlin in March 2016! Change Plus is a project aiming to promote behaviour change towards the abandonment of FGM in practising communities across the EU. The project is coordinated by one of our members, Terre des Femmes in Germany, with seven project partners across Europe and two associate partners, based in Burkina Faso and Mali. The project will train 48 community members as Change Agents, who will in turn conduct participatory research, assessing communities and designing behaviour change activities in accordance with the research results. The Network will work on the dissemination aspects of the project, helping to reach a wider audience within the European Union and informing key institutions, decision makers and professionals about the impact and holistic approach of the project.
• United to End FGM Web Knowledge Platform 
Having held a successful kick-off meeting in Cyprus in November 2015, the United to End FGM web-based platform is preparing for its second meeting in Madrid on 23rd and 24th June. In the meantime, the partners of the project have been busy creating the comprehensive  modules to train professionals on aspects of FGM which may relate to their field –  child protection, education, medical, judicial and many more. The tool will launch in February 2017 and the new website is currently being prepared.
EU & International Developments
• European Parliament adopts report on women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU
The European Parliament adopted in March a report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU. The report states that FGM and other forms of gender-based violence constitute persecution and should be valid reasons for seeking asylum in the EU. It urges the European Commission to develop interpretative guidelines on FGM which give full consideration to the UNHCR Guidelines. The report also calls on Member States to work at national level with their asylum authorities to establish better procedures to help support and assist women and girls who have undergone or who are at risk of FGM.
• European Commission proposes EU accession to Istanbul Convention
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for the European Union to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women.
• European Parliament Resolution on Djibouti
The European Parliament has adopted a Resolution calling on Djibouti to do more to end FGM in the country. The European Parliament welcomed the country's efforts, but states that despite the practice being illegal since 2005, various forms of female genital mutilation have been carried out on 98% of women and girls.
• Istanbul Convention now signed by all 28 Member States
All Member States have now signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, but only 14 have ratified it so far. 
• UN Report on FGM in Guinea
A new UN report says that 97% of women and girls aged 15-49 in Guinea have undergone FGM, the second highest rate in the world. Despite new legislative measures sanctioning the practice, social pressure as well as support from some political and religious leaders and lack of action by the judicial authorities contribute to the continuation of this human rights violation. 
•  WHO guidelines on the management of health complications from FGM
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released Guidelines addressed to healthcare professionals on the management of health complications from female genital mutilation. They aim to improve care for millions of women and girls who have undergone FGM and are facing its health consequences. 
Upcoming
• Council of Europe Report on FGM
The Parliamentary Assembly (Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination) of the Council of Europe is currently drafting a report on FGM in Europe. The rapporteur is Ms Beatrice Fresko-Rolfo and the report is expected to be debated and adopted in October. The rapporteur has carried out a fact-finding visit to the Reproductive Health Institute (France) and to the United Kingdom.
Members Updates
GAMS Belgium
GAMS has recently started working on an EU funded project with INTACT on the improvement of reception conditions for FGM survivors and women at risk of FGM or other forms of gender-based violence. They will provide training to professionals and psychosocial support to those affected. As part of the project, they are organising a conference in November on mental health and asylum. In May, GAMS celebrated their 20 year anniversary by organising an all day event including panel discussions, a theatre play and a concert. 


FI-KI
The organisation continues to organise meetings and events for young refugees in Uppsala, collaborates with hospitals and public health departments, and has given several interviews to the Swedish press. 


LebKom
LebKom is contributing to a questionnaire aiming to determine how widespread FGM in Germany is. The study is carried out by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and was requested by the European Parliament. Lebkom took part in the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York and upon return attended a meeting on the event organised by the relevant Ministry. The organisation is also working on a project in Kenya training 100 volunteers on eliminating FGM.


FSAN
FSAN has contributed to a policy paper on Netherland’s approach regarding FGM which will debated at the Parliament during the summer. FSAN has been providing training on conversation techniques, domestic violence, forced marriages, and honour- related violence.
AIDOS
In May, AIDOS attended the Women Deliver conference in Denmark, including the panel discussions on “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Achieving the Global Goal, Together” and “Clinical care of women living with female genital mutilation: Launch of the WHO clinical guidelines.” In the framework of the “United to end FGM” project, AIDOS organized a stakeholders’ consultation meeting in Rome in order to validate the contents of the Italian country page on FGM to be included in the platform.

Forward 
Forward has successfully contributed to the lobbying for the UK FGM Multi-Agency Guidelines to become statutory and was instrumental in providing input to the write up and comments on the development stage. Two new projects were launched in Tanzania and a new transnational project with partners in the UK, Tanzania, Somaliland, Kenya and Uganda. Forward’s youth programme in Bristol has launched a campaign to protect girls from FGM over the summer holidays when they may be at risk. Forward’s Executive Director, Naana Otoo-Oyortey, was invited to speak at a European Parliament hearing on eradicating FGM. 

Pharos
Pharos participated in an experts meeting regarding an Action Plan on the prevention of FGM developed by an MP and is currently advising the Ministry of Health. The organisation also participated in meeting organised by EIGE on FGM data collection and a meeting on preparing a shadow report on CEDAW. Pharos has conducted research on FGM in Syria, available online
 

EquiPop
As part of the CHANGE Plus project, EquiPop met with the other partners in March in order to organize the project launch and has already translated an awareness-raising booklet, recruited a project worker and identified change agents. EquiPop is involved in a campaign by Excision Parlons-en! targeting teenagers and promoting the abandonment of FGM. EquiPop’s Malian partner (AMSOPT) has been organising meetings between villages that have abandoned the practice and villages that still practice FGM.


Excision parlons-en! 
The organisation attended the Commission on the Status of Women 60th session in New York as part of the French NGOs delegation, and currently takes part in monthly civil society meetings with the Minister for women’s rights. Excision parlons-en has also launched a photography exhibition on FGM and asylum following the stories of three women after their arrival in France.

MIGS
MIGS has been recruited to conduct two mapping studies in view of the intention of the Ministry of Justice to ratify the Istanbul Convention: a study on risk assessment models and a legal mapping on existing legislation and legislative gaps. In April, MIGS represented the Network and the United to End FGM Web Platform at a mutual learning programme on FGM and other harmful practices organised by the European Commission.  


Terre des Femmes
The organisation participated in an EIGE consultation meeting on good practices on administrative data collection on violence against women including FGM. 


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