Given the present situation in Mali; given the difficulty in moving from region to region even in the South; in the face of uncertainty in ensuring transport, housing and food for several days for a sizeable group of young people accompanied by adults in the APDF; given the challenge in mobilizing communities and municipal authorities during this period of political uncertainty, we have drawn up what we consider an excellent means of organizing an effective Caravan free of risk in order to engage youth in talking to youth about FGM.
Participants will be recruited from among the earlier Caravaners, mainly those who came to the meeting in March 2011 in the offices of the APDF when Tobe Levin and Rosa von Gleichen (FORWARD - Germany) came for follow-up. The video footage of this meeting permits us to identify the young women and men who are among the most articulate and who have well mastered the subject, understand what is at stake, and can direct a discussion. A group of five or six young leaders will be sufficient for our purposes.
The frame: Participants will be accompanied by two chaperones from the APDF at each meeting. These individuals can take turns according to availability. Whenever possible, a former exciser who has given up her knife and/or a midwife will escort the youth. Journalists from radio and/or TV will also be invited to join in and report on Caravan activities as they unfold. Moreover, one of the young people will BLOG about the program and announce the schedule on a Facebook page in order to maximize social media attention at little expense.
Meeting with target audiences
Given the importance of facilitating a frank dialogue among young people on the subject of excision (a discussion which was not being held in most parts of Ségou before the caravan in 2007), we want to run consciousness- and awareness-raising meetings by and for youth. The get-togethers will take place in and near Bamako, for instance in high school classrooms with juniors and seniors, with college-prep students and those already attending universities in specific fields, for instance, medical students, nurses, students in the social sciences, theology and communications. Short extracts from Dabla! Excision! and the 2007 film Caravane will be shown at the start to facilitate and encourage honest exchange.
A young musician might also be asked to accompany the caravan to compose and perform hip-hop style songs on the theme.
Date: This Caravane will take place at the end of February – beginning of March during two weeks of school time, with five or six meetings held at each partner institution.
The content of all meetings will be captured on video.
Given the real danger that women’s and girls’ rights will be rolled back by the menace of Sharia law already imposed in the occupied North, the subject of excision and appropriation by women of their own bodies are more urgent topics to discuss now than ever.
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