Lindsay Northover calls on African communities to end FGM in a generation

Baroness Northover
Baroness Northover

African communities in the UK will receive support to strengthen campaigns to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through a new scheme backed by the Department for International Development (DFID) in collaboration with The Girl Generation, Lib Dem Development Minister Baroness Northover has announced.

Voluntary and community African groups in the UK are being invited to bid for new grants to support their campaigns to end FGM in their countries of origin.

Backed by The Girl Generation, grants of up to £9,000 will be awarded to up to 5 groups working in Kenya, Nigeria and The Gambia to:

  • increase engagement between UK and African communities and organisations to strengthen support for the end FGM movement and grow participation
  • build and strengthen relationships between organisations working on ending FGM on the African continent and the diaspora in the UK
  • support and deliver campaigns in Africa by sharing experience of how to build support to end the practice

The new grants come as DFID also launches a new 5-year research programme that will inform policy-makers and practitioners on how to design new ways to encourage communities in Africa to end FGM. Lead by the Population Council, the results of the research will help African communities to design efficient and cost effective ways to eliminate the practice.

Lindsay Northover said:

Britain’s African communities are experienced and vocal campaigners against this cruel practice and have made great progress in ending it here in the UK.

The close links between communities in the UK and in Africa will help to build powerful grassroots movements that expose FGM for what it is: child abuse.

At the same time, the new research programme led by the Population Council will help support these initiatives by providing vital evidence about what actions we can take to make a real difference to the lives of women and girls.

The Diaspora Grants Programme is being operated by The Girl Generation, a consortium established by the Department for International Development (DFID) last year. The Girl Generation aims to galvanise the existing Africa-led, global movement to end FGM by supporting and accelerating campaigns against the practice in 10 of the most affected countries and mobilising the resources needed to end FGM in a generation.

The application process opens on Friday 6 February to coincide with Zero Tolerance to FGM day.

Naana Otoo-Oyortey, Executive Director, FORWARD, a consortium partner in The Girl Generation, said:

The Diaspora Grants will provide an opportunity for African-led organisations in the UK and organisations in the African continent to develop and strengthen their joint working to end FGM. This grant programme acknowledges the fact that diaspora organisations and individuals have been key players in raising the profile of FGM in the UK and many members of the diaspora are willing and able to contribute skills and expertise to support actions to end FGM in Africa.

Ian Askew, Population Council Director of Reproductive Health Services and Research said:

FGM is a human rights violation and a health risk to women and girls. This traditional practice must be eliminated.

Our evidence shows that when we understand why the practice continues, effective and appropriate interventions can be implemented that lead to change.

The Population Council and its consortium partners are pleased to join with DFID on this crucial research agenda. Working with national partners and communities, we can end FGM within a generation.

DFID is also marking Zero Tolerance to FGM day by announcing the new £8 million research programme led by the Population Council. This five year, multi-country research will build a global evidence base on the most efficient and cost-effective approaches to ending FGM, helping to inform future policy and programming.

The collaboration with The Girl Generation and the research programme form two key parts of the UK Government’s £35 million global programme to end FGM alongside support for the UNICEF-UNFPA Joint Programme supporting communities in Africa to abandon the practice.

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