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Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation and Protecting Children against Violence

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) continues to be widely practiced in Egypt despite a noticeable decline in the number of circumcised girls over the past decade.Since 2003, BLACD has been UNICEF’s NGO partner in Minya implementing projects aimed at empowering local communities to abandon this harmful practice and protect their children against violence.

BLACD views Female Genital Mutilation as a fundamental violation of women’s and girls’ rights and recognizes that it should be tackled as one of many forms of violence practiced against children. 

Changing the attitudes and behavior of families

Through various awareness-raising activities, BLACD has reached close to 3000 families of girls at risk of circumcision in 8 communities in Minya and has recently extended activities to an additional 12 communities. Activities include home visits to raise families’ awareness of the harms of female circumcision as well as small meetings for women, men and youth allowing them to obtain correct information about the FGM issue from doctors, religious leaders and social researchers. BLACD has conducted several awareness raising campaigns in the communities, used theatre as a means to convey messages about FGM and brought UNICEF Good Will Ambassador and actor Khaled Abu El-Naga to hold a dialogue with people about violence against children. 

BLACD also works with so called “positive deviants”, i.e. women and men who already before the start of the project decided not to circumcise their daughters, as a means to bring about an attitude shift towards the harmful practice of FGM. In meetings and gatherings arranged by BLACD, positive deviants tell their particular story of why they decided against circumcision and call attention to the fact that their uncircumcised daughters grew up well and are in good health. Thanks to awareness raising efforts, close to 60% of targeted families have decided not to practice FGM, another 25% remain undecided, and 15% say they will still circumcise their daughter.

Empowering Girls at Risk

BLACD holds awareness-raising and empowerment classes for girls at risk to enhance their understanding of the FGM issue and to enable them to self expression and active participation in opposing this tradition. Girls contributed to making a song and video clip about FGM as well as a booklet called “Our Message”. 
Girls at Risk of circumcision declare that “All religions are against FGM” in all streets of their village

Mobilizing community groups to advocate against FGM

Through capacity-building trainings provided by BLACD, various community groups such as local leaders, religious leaders and school teachers have been mobilized to participate in influencing other community members to change their behavior regarding FGM. Building on past efforts, new “pressure groups” will be formed to work as community advocates. One such group consists of “positive deviants” and parents who as a result of the project decided not to circumcise their daughters. The group will conduct advocacy campaigns and support solutions to bring about a wide scale shift in attitudes and behavior in the targeted communities. BLACD will also work with girls aged 14-16 who were saved from FGM thanks to the project. Girls will think together how to save their friends and implement various activities to this end.   

Local committees to stop violence against children

After finishing a current study about violence against children, BLACD will set up committees on school-, village- and governorate levels in five communities to work to protect children from being subjected to violence in schools. This initiative corresponds to an idea expressed in the recent Egyptian Child Law of 2008.


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