On 3rd and 4th of March 2016, TERRE DES FEMMES hosted the official kick-off meeting of the CHANGE Plus project at their head office in Berlin. All of the European project partners – AIDOS, APF, Coventry University, End FGM, Equipop, FSAN and Plan Stiftung – participated in the meeting and contributed to its success.
After a brief welcoming speech by TDF’s Executive Director Christa Stolle, all participants introduced themselves and their organisation, as well as their role within the CHANGE Plus project and their personal expectations for the meeting. This was followed by presentations on the over all goals and strategies of CHANGE Plus and specific elements of the first three Workstreams of the project, such as management and coordination, community mapping and project evaluation. As the training of the CHANGE Agents and the Behaviour Change Activities will be discussed in detail during the next meeting in Amsterdam this autumn, the project partners only discussed the call for applications for the future CHANGE Agents as well as their role and duties. Furthermore, the participants extensively discussed the new modules for the training manual and agreed on necessary revisions of the already existing prevention brochure. In the evening, the first day of the meeting finished off with a joint dinner.
The Kick-off meeting of the two-year EU funded CHANGE Plus project will be held on 3rd and 4th of March 2016. It takes place at TERRE DES FEMMES’ Federal Head Office in Berlin.
The partner organisations Stiftung Hilfe mit Plan from Hamburg/Germany, FSAN from the Netherlands, APF from Portugal, Équipop from France, AIDOS from Italy and the Coventry University from London/UK as well as the European network End FGM will come to Berlin to discuss the strategies and activities of CHANGE Plus as well as the first steps already done in the project.
The EU Parliament estimates that up to 500,000 girls and women in the European Union are affected by FGM and another 180,000 are at risk of being subjected to the practice. To protect these girls and women, TERRE DES FEMMES is coordinating the international two-year project CHANGE Plus which aims at promoting behaviour change towards the abandonment of FGM in practising communities in the EU. The project will be implemented together with the partner organisations Plan Stiftungszentrum in Hamburg/Germany, Federatie van Somalische Associaties Nederland (FSAN) in the Netherlands, Associação para o Planeamento da Família (APF) in Portugal, Équilibres & Populations (ÉquiPop) in France, Associazione Italiana Donne per lo Sviluppo (AIDoS) in Italy and the Coventry University in London/UK. The European network End FGM is involved in CHANGE Plus for the EU-wide dissemination of the project’s results.
The European Commission has awarded TERRE DES FEMMES and the project partnership with new funds to continue working with CHANGE Agents in several EU countries.
Starting date for CHANGE Plus is on 15th of January 2016.
Project partners are Plan Stiftung in Hamburg, EquiPoP in France, FSAN in the Netherlands, the Coventry University, UK and APF, Portugal, AiDos in Italy and the European Network End-FGM.
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Over the last few weeks, the first training sessions were held by the European partner organisations. People from different African communities are trained on issues related to FGM to enable them to sensitise their own communities as a CHANGE Agent afterwards. Cultural, social, religious, legal and health dimensions of FGM are contents of the training.
After a general introduction to FGM and the CHANGE Plus project, the first training session dealt with gender and women’s rights. Objectives of the session were to understand that gender is a result of socialisation and to recognise the link between gender inequality and discriminatory power structures. CHANGE Agents should strongly believe in the empowerment of girls and women and the promotion of their rights and reject all gender-based violence, including FGM.
Over the coming months, 48 CHANGE Agents and 8 CHANGE Champions in total will be trained in four European countries to promote behaviour change towards the abandonment of FGM in practising communities within the EU.
On the 27th August the first training session for CHANGE Agents took place at TERRE DES FEMMES’ headquarter in Berlin. The seven Agents Colette Tchoumbou, Evariste Franz Kapnang Tchaptchet, Isatou Barry, Tiranke Diallo, Fadhumo Musa, Mai Ali and Fatou Diatta originally come from African countries with high FGM prevalence, e.g. Gambia, Guinea, Somalia and Sudan. All CHANGE Agents are active members of their respective communities in Berlin and they are all living in Germany for many years now. Over the coming months the CHANGE Agents will be trained on different issues of FGM. Idah Nabateregga, the Community Manager, will coordinate the whole sessions.
On 23rd of September 2016, FSAN was hosting the Coordination Meeting for all Project Partners of the CHANGE Plus project, which is co-funded by the European Union, in Amsterdam. All of the European project partners – TERRE DES FEMMES, AIDOS, APF, Coventry University, End FGM, Equipop, FSAN and Plan Stiftung – were participating in the meeting.
In the course of the CHANGE Plus project, which is co-funded by the EU, TERRE DES FEMMES and APF are organizing trainings to educate CHANGE Agents. After finishing the training the CHANGE Agents work as ambassadors of behavioral changes in their own communities. In total, 48 CHANGE Agents will be trained in Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and France. The second session dealt with the concept of Gender as well as legal dimensions of FGM.