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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. A Difficult Wound to Heal

On the International day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that takes place on 6 February, Amref Health Africa will present the new P-ACT project financed by the Italian Ministry of the Interior’s Fondo Asilo, Migrazione e Integrazione (Fund for Asylum, Migration and Integration, FAMI).

Amref Health Africa, that has fought extensively in the fight against FGM for twenty years, is continuing its commitment to prevent and eliminate the violent gender-based procedure that FGM represents in Milan, Turin, Padua and Rome: areas of intervention for the new P-ACT project. There are over 600,000 girls and women victims of this violent procedure in Europe and over 80,000 in Italy.

The overall aim of the P-ACT project: Percorsi di Attivazione Contro il Taglio dei diritti (Activation Paths Against Cutting Human Rights) is to strengthen prevention policies and eliminate the gender-based procedure of Female Gender Mutilation on minors of foreign origin through appropriate actions.

The project is based on a multi-dimensional analysis of problems and needs carried out by Amref Health Africa and its partners thanks to a topic-specific experienced multidisciplinary team. The latest research, carried out by its partner Bicocca Universit for the Department of Equal Opportunities in 2019, showed that in January 2018, 87,600 women were cut, of which 7,600 were minors, and that a further 4,600 were at risk of FGM.

The aim of the project is to improve the skills and increase the capacity of networks and services available for the prevention and elimination of FGM on minors of foreign origin through intercultural, multi-sector and interdisciplinary training courses and capacity building programs for workers. Another priority is to improve performance and efficiency in response services and in local networks with regards to the prevention of, safeguarding and response to the violent procedure against minors of foreign origin through awareness raising and advocacy programs aimed at empowering local decision-makers. Finally, the project aims at boosting connection, networking and mutual learning between local and inter-regional networks through innovative awareness and communication services.

“Sexual and reproductive health is one of the main pillars of intervention of Amref and for decades, the organization has worked to eliminate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation by focusing on the entire ecosystem in which this practice thrives, promoting a preventative approach that is mindful of the legal contexts, community systems, education, healthcare systems, data and research,” said Paola Magni, Amref Health Africa representative for the elimination of FGM projects. “In Italy, today, we are doing the work that we have been carrying out in Africa for over twenty years, driven by the indisputable knowledge that every woman has the right to freedom. Furthermore, we are happy that the issues that we as Amref defend, are shared by the European Union – that has recently launched a new strategy for gender equality, ‘Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025’ – and are part of the new edition of Guidelines on Gender Equality and Empowerment for Women, Adolescent Girls and Girls (2020-2024) published by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Amref Health Africa will lead the P-ACT project in partnership with the Università degli Studi Milano – Bicocca, Non c’è Pace Senza Giustizia, Coordinamento Nazionale Nuove Generazioni – CONNGI and Società Italiana Medicina delle Migrazioni – SIMM.

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