Group photo of women and youth from 25 countries
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I have considerable excitement in sharing this report. Because of your donation and support, we have been able to continue training women from other countries in our transformative popular education approach.
During the month of February, HFAW was invited by the Lutheran Secretariat in Nairobi to conduct a TOT training entitled “The Lutheran Communion in Central and Eastern Africa (Luccea) ToT Training for Accelerating Abandonment of FGM/Cut” on popular education to over 25 women and youth from over 9 countries in East and Central Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Eriterea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Congo and Madagascar. This training was to encourage the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in these countries.
As you might be aware Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a huge problem throughout many countries and tribes in Africa and also in LUCCEA sub-region where for instance in Kenya it is estimated that out of 42 tribes constituting the nation, only 3 tribes do not practice FGM. The effect on the girl (physical, psychological, emotional, social and economic) is devastating on the girl/woman. It is total abuse of human right and completely strips the girls off their dignity.
Therefore, the magnitude of the problem is considerable also in this era where HIV/AIDS is dreaded and attracting a lot of funding but little success in eliminating it. LUCCEA secretariat wanted to find ways of overcoming mere awareness building on the effects of FGM/C but engage strong and new strategies that will end FGM/C. Popular education which has a component of critical conscious raising and whole community participatory engagement and action plans is providing that answer. Thanks to you who continue supporting us we are able to share this new strategy. The strategy leads to a people who are self driven in addressing problems in their communities.
The intensive week of training workshop from February 22 through 28th, 2016 brought together experts and member churches officers committed to end FGM/C who shared experiences and information from various sub-regions countries where FGM is rampant; learned about popular education approaches; brainstormed strategies that will accomplish campaigns that included local government and foreign partners; created powerful and winning action plans; equipped the women and youth with skills to implement the action plans; established a communication and information sharing platform (network and process) that will allow churches to deal with gender justice issues and children rights as well as embraced a human rights framework that will promote justice for all people.
Our use of simple and hands on practical and participatory approaches as well as making the training interactive with fun, exercises, song and games made the participants demand to hear more of popular education. We also made the training dramatic as we made the participants take hands on practice on how to engage others. We were also visual as we shared real life photos and documentaries of what really happens during the so called “circumcision” and engaged participants in critical questions about those photos and documentaries. Participants felt an urgency to do more and quicker to end FGM/C and also felt that this method will work to end the practice in their countries.
" It is an idea whose time has come" said one of the participants from Kenya about popular education and ending FGM.. When we used a simple string to show how communication networks can be simplified to allow continuous sharing of this methods, there was such great learning lessons. "Where has these approach been in the world?." Asked one of the participants from Tanzania.
One Rev from Congo shared that she had previously been given a book on FGM to read but ignored it as she did not think FGM was significant problem of concern to her as she thought it is not rampant in her country. After this trainings she shared that she felt compelled to do something to learn more and combat FGM no matter which country is practicing it.
A woman from Uganda was also shocked by some of the extent of FGM, the dramatic impact it has that no one had ever shared with her till this training. “Now I feel a strong obligation to end FGM whatever it takes.” She said.
There were so many aids which lead to critical discussions including the photo clip of girl who is standing in her pool of blood-Courtesy of Douglas W. Laube, MD and a drama participants worked together to place a stick into a bottle they also learned how to build teamwork and how to create a network of communication with us and themselves—each person is connected to each other during the training and it was expected to happen in real social justice work
The participants made overwhelming requests for plans to HFAW to provide additional trainings. Requests were made for the LUCCEA office to work with us to support implementation of an action plan and additional trainings in specific countries to ensure that each participant took actual actions in their churches as simple as including FGM issue in church programs. LUCCEA office is working to ensure that we do more trainings and support the implementation of the action plans that each participants created to go with to their own countries.
That is why we are proud of your support. We know that little consistent steps lead to significant change. We thank you and encourage you to give us advice as we continue to deepen this work. As we spread the popular education methods we do so with a believe that it will end FGM sooner than expected. We request that you share our work with your friends and relatives and encourage them to support this work. Ones again we thank you for your contributions and sharing of our work so widely.
Community assessment done by participants
Hands on and participation is very practical
Participant learns to present to others
Creating action plans to use in home countries