Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM

by The Grandmother Project, Inc
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Empowering Grandmother leaders to stop FGM
Discussion among grandmothers can lead to change
Discussion among grandmothers can lead to change

Grandmother Leaders are instrumental in mobilizing their communities to discuss the harmful effects of FGM and to come to a consensus on its abandonment.  Whilst many grandmothers previously spoke amongst themselves about the harm of FGM, it is only now they have been able to use their voices to make a lasting change for girls.  GMP’s Grandmother Leadership training has given them the tools they need to feel confident in their leadership role and voicing their opinions in front of the whole community and with village chiefs, imams and other community leaders.

 

“Since the arrival of GMP, we have been leading discussions on female circumcision. Before, we knew the dangers but it was with the project that we had the confidence and the courage to speak about it publicly.”

Fatoumata Baldé

 

Many grandmothers previously had an awareness and understanding of the potential harmful effects of FGM, but didn’t know how to make a change.  Using participatory learning techniques and supporting the existing strengths of senior women Grandmother Leaders have been able to make a change in numerous communities across southern Senegal. 

 

“Long before the Grandmother Project’s intervention, I discussed with other grandmothers of the village about the harm of cutting because I was a midwife at the hospital and had noticed problems among circumcised women. But it was only with the arrival of Grandmother Project that people really became aware of these problems. While I discussed individually with the grandmothers, GMP involved everyone. We grandmothers have made a commitment to not circumcise our granddaughters. We met together with the village chief and the parents of children and talked about the negative consequences of excision. Together, we agreed to denounce anyone who continued to practice female circumcision in the village.”

Kadiatou Baldé, Grandmother Leader

 

With your continued help, GMP can train more Grandmother Leaders in new communities and ensure that girls will no longer have to deal with the harmful effects of FGM. 

Grandmother Leaders are instrumental to change
Grandmother Leaders are instrumental to change
Grandmother Leaders support girls' development
Grandmother Leaders support girls' development
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Grandmothers protect girls from harmful practices
Grandmothers protect girls from harmful practices

A rise in cases of FGM has recently been connected to the COVID pandemic.  According to a recent article in The Lancet, the “alarming signals of rising FGM cases are part of a broader context in which the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women's wellbeing.” 


While COVID may continue, attacks to girls’ human rights and well-being do not need to.  With the help of grandmothers, girls have tireless advocates for their health and well-being. A grandmother is a powerful voice that can change harmful traditions and practices, but she also needs support and guidance to fulfill her role.  

 

We continue to work with grandmothers to give them leadership skills so they are educated and empowered to make positive changes in their communities.  Your continued support ensures that more grandmothers can be trained and supported to make a change in the lives of women and girls. 

 

Grandmothers support girls' health and well-being
Grandmothers support girls' health and well-being
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Grandmothers protect girls from FGM
Grandmothers protect girls from FGM

The COVID pandemic has shed light on the dangers women and girls face all over the world; not only in terms of inequality (lack of access to education), but also with regards to violence against women and girls (FGM, child marriage).  UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) most recent projections proport that due to the disruption of FGM prevention programs in response to COVID-19, 2 million cases that could have been averted might occur over the next decade.

In Vélingara Grandmother Leaders work with parents and the whole community to educate them about the harmful effects of FGM.  Thanks to the Grandmother Leaders, hundreds of girls in Vélingara have been saved from the lasting effects of FGM. 

Grandmother Leaders are a sustainable way to stop FGM – even during COVID.  Once trained, they work tirelessly with parents and communities to educate them about the dangers of FGM and child marriage and promote girls staying in school so they can finish their secondary education. 

With your help Grandmother Project can train more grandmothers so that COVID won’t keep girls from being safe and achieving their dreams.

Grandmothers are key to stopping harmful practices
Grandmothers are key to stopping harmful practices
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WAG Forums help women to solve problems together
WAG Forums help women to solve problems together

Grandmother Project’s (GMP) intergenerational activities with mothers, grandmothers and girls have been proven to make a difference in the lives of girls – in both the current generation and for the generations to come.  Research on our program by the Institute of Reproductive Health at Georgetown University found that GMP programs have contributed to significantly shifting deep-rooted social norms and practices related to girls’ education, child marriage, teen pregnancy and FGM. 

At GMP, we know that the most positive outcomes happen when all three generations of women are brought together to discuss and learn and are empowered to make a difference in their communities. Working together, these intergenerational groups of women are able to tackle the most hard-hitting issues facing girls today.  They know that together they are stronger.  Together they are changing the future for the girls of today and tomorrow.   

“As leaders, we should try to share information with other members of the community in order to get them to understand what we have discussed. We have to work hand in hand to help our children because they are the leaders of tomorrow in the village.”                                                       

- Foula Baldé mother

“These meetings are very useful for us because they allow us to realize the importance of strengthening solidarity between us to support young girls. Bringing mothers, young daughters and grandmothers together promotes collaboration between all of us.”                       

- Fanta, grandmother

“It has been a long time since we were all together to discuss these issues. We are here to listen to what the grandmothers have to say.”                               

- Diénabou, adolescent girl

Women and Girl (WAG) forums are a simple, yet effective way to ignite discussion, educate and empower all three generations of women.  These intergenerational leaders provide a sustainable force in the fight for girls’ rights and well-being.  Thanks to your generous donation, they continue to fight - even during COVID. 

 

GMP programs stop deep-rooted, harmful traditions
GMP programs stop deep-rooted, harmful traditions
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Grandmothers educate and support adolescent girls
Grandmothers educate and support adolescent girls

UNICEF and UNFPA have recently warned that, due to COVID, at least 2 million girls are at risk of FGM.  This risk is due to COVID restrictions and the associated lack of movement, inhibiting prevention practices related to not only FGM, but also other gender based violence practices, such as child marriage.  Increased risk of FGM has been identified as an issue all over Africa and UNICEF and UNFPA are asking organizations all over the continent to assess the current situation and need for intervention. 

 

In Senegal, children were out of school for 8 months due to COVID-19-induced closures.  During that entire period, grandmothers continued to bring neighborhood girls together for evening story-telling sessions and GMP intensified under-the-tree participatory learning sessions with girls and grandmothers to discuss COVID prevention measures and the risks of teen pregnancy, FGM and child marriage.Small group Women and Girls forums have continued in many communities and Grandmother Leaders have been active throughout the communities with whom we collaborate.  In fact, throughout the pandemic, Grandmother Leaders have been responsible for stopping and preventing many cases of gender based violence, such as child marriage and FGM. 

 

Girls alone cannot stop these ingrained and harmful traditional practices; they need the wisdom and support of the grandmothers.  Training grandmother leaders is a sustainable way to prevent FGM – even in times of distress, such as the COVID pandemic.  Grandmother Leaders’ work continues regardless of obstacles – they are girls’ strongest advocates for change.   

Grandmothers and girls share a special bond
Grandmothers and girls share a special bond
Telling stories and giving advice under the tree
Telling stories and giving advice under the tree
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Organization Information

The Grandmother Project, Inc

Location: Chevy Chase, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thegm_project
Project Leader:
Judi Aubel
Chevy Chase, MD United States
$5,427 raised of $9,400 goal
 
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$3,973 to go
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