In July 2016, Plan International started the CHANGE Agent Training in Hamburg. The training sessions, which are part of the CHANGE Plus Project, focus on different behaviour change steps, such as terminology, communication about FGM/C in families, religious beliefs, and choice and consent. Gwladys Awo, project coordinator and community manager of Plan International, is leading the trainings.
The CHANGE Agents come from different countries like Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Afghanistan. Following the trainings, they will do sensibilisation and intervention activities concerning FGM/C within their diaspora communities. So far, the CHANGE Agents have learned about Gender and Women’s Rights, FGM/C and Legal Issues, Communication Skills and Conflict Management, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Health Issues of FGM/C, as well as Culture, Tradition, Identity and Religion.
Through the variety of group activities, exercises, movies, sketches, discussions, lectures and guest lectures the trainings are designed lively. In one session, some pictures of women who had undergone FGM/C as well as health consequences, like tumours have been shown. The pictures had a great impact on the CHANGE Agents – “Durch die Bilder habe ich erst jetzt gemerkt warum die Sensibilisierung wichtig ist und warum das Thema FGM/C enttabuisiert werden muss.” [Through the pictures it became clear to me why sensibilisation and overcoming taboos concerning FGM/C are so important and needed]; “Wir müssen Betroffene unterstützen, weil sie wirklich leiden. Wenn man die Bilder nicht ansieht, weiß man nicht genau, worüber man spricht […].” [We need to support survivors. They really suffer. If you don’t see those pictures, you don’t really know what you are talking about […]]. In all sessions the CHANGE Agents were very enthusiastic, motivated and participated actively.