On February 15th, Plan International organised a full day training session about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for religious leaders from Muslim communities in Hamburg ("Imams"). They learnt about the risks associated with FGM and discussed with the change agents and other participants the issue of how girls can be protected.
Dr. Christoph Zerm, gynaecologist, was invited as a guest speaker to inform the participants about the health implications of FGM and discuss prevention strategies to protect girls at risk. Dr. Zerm emphasised that FGM is a global human rights violation with 150 million girls and women affected worldwide. He further explained how to differentiate the four different types of FGM and the risks associated with them. In some countries, such as Somalia or Sudan e.g., Type III affects almost 100% of the women causing severe health consequences. For more information please see the presentation by Dr. Zerm.
Additionally, Dr. Zerm spoke about the current medical research and new methods regarding the reconstruction of the clitoris for women suffering from FGM. A vivid discussion between Dr. Zerm and the participants followed.
The afternoon session brought together change agents and Imams. The following topics were discussed in smaller groups allowing for intensive dialogue between the Imams and the change agents: 'Which role do religious leader play in the prevention of FGM in African communities in Hamburg?' and 'How could religious leaders assist women affected by FGM?'
Mrs. Gwladys Awo, who is the CHANGE project manager for Plan in Hamburg, facilitated the workshop. Around 10 Imams from different African communities in Hamburg, the 14 change agents that got trained by Plan in Hamburg in the course of the CHANGE project as well as members from the African communities attended the session. Furthermore, the CHANGE project coordinator Ms. Linda Ederberg from TERRE DES FEMMES took part in the session, as well as Ms Petra Titze from the external evaluation team.