Media Release: Sharing Our Strengths National Symposium on Best Practice Approaches to the Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

There is no single approach to eliminate female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), but there are many approaches that do work best to end the practice.  This is the message at the core of the ‘Sharing Our Strengths’ symposium being held today.

Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) and Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights have worked together to stage the ‘Sharing Our Strengths’ symposium, a gathering of best practice approaches to FGM/C prevention.

Executive Director of MCWH, Dr Adele Murdolo said that it is also important to recognise the work being conducted around Australia to support the abandonment of the practice.

‘Many of these programs, some of which have been running for over 16 years, are community based and conducted by women from the communities most affected by FGM/C.’

Dr Murdolo said that women affected by FGM/C, as the group most directly impacted by the practice, need to recognised as leaders and change agents.

‘We only seem to hear about stories that are designed to make us feel us shocked, angry or pity, but such sentiments don’t and won’t do anything to prevent and stop the practice.’

Dr Murdolo said many of the speakers at the symposium are working at the front-line of community awareness and education and already demonstrate international best practice approaches to preventing the practice.

‘The international evidence on FGM/C prevention is clear: it’s essential that women most affected by FGM/C lead the charge to bring about its demise, but they can’t do it alone.  All communities and all levels of government need to support women’s leadership efforts in this area.’

Minister Cash will be launching MCWH’s National Education Toolkit for FGM/C Prevention at the Symposium.

Media Release: Voices of Change-Marking International Zero Tolerance Day to Female Genital Mutilation

Women from countries where female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is practiced are the best agents to put an end to the harmful practice.  This is the message at the core of the ‘Voices of Change’ event being held today to mark International Zero Tolerance Day to Female Genital Mutilation.

Women’s Health in the North, Mercy Health, Monash Health, North Yarra Community Health, Doutta Galla Community Health and Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) have worked together to stage the ‘Voices of Change’ event.

Executive Director of MCWH, Dr Adele Murdolo said that it is important to recognise the pivotal role women from affected communities play in preventing and eliminating FGM/C.

‘The global evidence is quite clear that community-based approaches are the most effective.  Our event is a rare opportunity to listen to and learn from women who have been working very hard with their communities to stop the practice.’

Dr Murdolo said that women affected by FGM/C, as the group most directly impacted by the practice, are at the core of successful programs.

‘We rarely hear about the good news stories and successes of the work being done in relation to FGM/C and it’s our intention to celebrate and recognise the tireless activism and engagement of women from the community, who are leading the way for the rest of us.’

Juliana Nkrumah AM, one of the guest speakers at the event, said that any effort to put an end to FGM/C should be motivated by the need to help women in affected communities speak for themselves.

‘It’s essential that we support women and girls by investing in awareness-raising as a way of increasing their decision-making power.  It’s the only way cultural change will come about.’

 

FARREP Statewide Planning Meeting

Maria Ibrahim, from North Yarra Community Health; Aisha El-Hag from Doutta Galla Community Health and Wemi Oyekanmi from Mercy Hospital for Women contributed to the Statewide FARREP Planning day at MCWH.

Maria Ibrahim from North Yarra Community Health; Aisha El-Hag from Doutta Galla Community Health and Wemi Oyekanmi from Mercy Hospital for Women at the Statewide FARREP Planning day.

Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health was pleased to host the Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program (FARREP) statewide planning meeting last week. Funded by the Victorian Department of Health, FARREP is the Victorian program that works with communities that are affected by FGM/C. FARREP provides support to women and conducts FGM/C prevention programs with affected communities across the state, creating links to services and improving sexual and reproductive health.

Apart from the obvious pleasure of catching up with old friends, the day was a great opportunity to make better use of our resources by sharing our plans for the year. A series of working groups were established to better share our expertise in providing professional education, school-based programs, community education, direct support to women, and evaluation.

Media Release: National project to assist communities affected by FGM/C

MCWH is focusing its national efforts on improving support and assistance provided to women and girls affected by female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). The development of a national website and best practice guidelines for the abandonment of FGM/C are at the core of MCWH’s latest initiative.

Executive Director of MCWH, Dr Adele Murdolo said that the National Education Toolkit for FGM/C Awareness (NETFA) Project will ensure a more targeted approach to community education that will help communities affected by FGM/C move toward abandonment of the practice.

The NETFA Project is one of 15 projects funded through the Federal Government’s Health System Capacity Development Fund FGM Support Targeted Round and will be carried out over the next twelve months.

Read the full media release …

Release of the MCWH Position Paper on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

February 6 is the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C, and an important opportunity for us all to affirm our commitment to improving the rights, safety and health of women and girls around the globe.

To mark the day, we are releasing our Position Paper on FGM/C, which was produced with the help of many wonderful women already working to ensure that the practice is not continued in Australia and that migrant and refugee women who have experienced FGM/C have access to services and support which meet their needs.

We’d like to thank again the women who have contributed to this document and the organisations who have endorsed our position. We hope that it provides a solid foundation for the abandonment of FGM/C in one generation in an Australian context.