Mainstreaming FGM in development projects – training in Cyprus

Time to ACT: Strengthening Capacity for Gender Parity in Decision-Making in Cyprus
October 7, 2015
Global Media Monitoring Project 2015
November 30, 2015

The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) in collaboration with the Cyprus Island-wide NGO Development Platform organised a training entitled “Addressing FGM in Development Programmes and Projects”. The 2-day training took place on 14-15 September 2015 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Nicosia-Cyprus.

The training took place within the framework of the EuropeAid Project “END FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). Cooperation, synergies and structured dialogue among civil society and EU institutions to address female genital mutilation as a development issue”, funded by the European Union and coordinated by AIDOS (Italy) in partnership with FORWARD (UK) and APF (Portugal).

The 2-day training in Cyprus was organised within the framework of the European Year for Development 2015 and under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Although many policy-makers and diplomats don’t know about FGM, I strongly support the efforts to combat this form of violence and support women, girls and their communities to live free from violence”, H.E. Alexandros Zinon, Permanent Secretary, Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The aim of the seminar was the involvement of NGOs/ CSOs / Non-State-Actors and local authorities in development cooperation (local, Europe, and Africa) through the enhancement of knowledge and skills, in order to integrate FGM abandonment in development programmes.

The training had the following learning objectives:

1. Increase understanding about the cultural environment and the reasons behind the FGM as a cultural practice;

2. Improve understanding of FGM as a gender and development issue;

3. Develop skills and capacities of trainees to adopt strategies, tools and approaches to end FGM in development project and programmes.

Training participants included Ministry of Foreign Affairs officers dealing with human rights, sustainable development goals, and external relations with EU and affected countries. Also,  officers from the Cyprus Asylum Service and NGOs such as the Future Worlds Centre, Hope for Children, the NGO Support Centre, and other activists and researchers interested in mainstreaming FGM in their projects.

The training participants expressed their satisfaction and appreciation about the training’s theoretical and practical/interactive content. In a positive environment together with the trainer Anna Zobnina (MIGS, Chair of the European Migrant Women’s Network) and Christina Kaili (MIGS, END FGM Board Member) the participants shared their experiences and current realities about FGM in Cyprus. Possible areas of intervention and joint actions were also discussed with regards to mainstreaming FGM in existing development work in Cyprus, in Europe and beyond. The fruitful discussion and group work focused on the following areas; 1) data collection and research, 2) multidisciplinary procedures and policies, and 3) training and awareness raising actions and programmes.