On February 6, 2017, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, TERRE DES FEMMES invited more than one hundred experts from different professional fields such as medicine, counselling, justice, asylum and child protection to a symposium held in the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BFSFJ) in Berlin. Directly before the official beginning of the symposium, TERRE DES FEMMES held a press conference about CHANGE Plus in the ministry´s rooms. Tiranke Diallo represented the other CHANGE Agents on the podium and answered the many questions the press had on the project. The press conference was a great success, as it was very well attended and the CHANGE Plus project extensively covered by media representatives from all over Germany.
Renowned journalist and TERRE DES FEMMES-ambassador Shelly Kupferberg moderated the following symposium. Secretary of State Dr Kleindiek opened the conference with a short presentation of some of the data from the empirical study on FGM in Germany his ministry had commissioned.
TERRE DES FEMMES´ managing director Christa Stolle welcomed all participants, introduced the subject of “Overcoming Female Genital Mutilation” and briefly summarized TERRE DES FEMMES´ areas of focus and main activities.
The initial panel brought representatives from various professional fields, NGO´s and counselling opportunities together and focused on calls for action, approaches on FGM prevention as well as improved support for the affected. CHANGE Plus project coordinator Gwladys Awo from Stiftung Hilfe mit Plan represented the communities on the podium.
Thereafter, the network INTEGRA presented their empirical study on female genital mutilation in Germany together with the consulting firm Ramboll Management.
Next, project coordinator Linda Ederberg presented the e-learning platform "United to END FGM", a tool addressed at professionals from different fields. So far, the German professions in question lack the knowledge and required skills to provide adequate support for endangered or affected persons or accomplish successful prevention work.
In this context, the extensive and specialised further education of professionals is a decisive factor in overcoming FGM. This has been taken into account by launching the new web-based platform. From now on, the platform is accessible for everyone interested in FGM and is available in nine different languages.
TERRE DES FEMMES compiled the platform together with eleven partner organisations in the context of the co-financed EU project "United to END FGM".
Later in the afternoon, the participants discussed different aspects of FGM (prevention, the role of the communities, medical aspects, asylum issues as well as counselling) parallel to each other at respective round tables. The round table dealing with FGM and communities was well attended by six CHANGE Agents from Berlin and Hamburg and moderated by Gwladys Awo. The symposium ended with summaries and solution approaches gathered from each of the round tables on how to overcome FGM.
We would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs for their collaboration and support as well as all speakers and participants, especially the six CHANGE Agents, for the successful course of the symposium.