The project is co-founded by the European Union under the Daphne Programme and coordinated by TERRE DES FEMMES. The European Parliament estimates that up to 180,000 girls and young women in Europe are at risk of FGM. The direct beneficiaries are the girls and young women at risk.
As Participatory Action Research on the barriers to ending FGM has already been carried out in the communities, this project will start off with the identification of influential community members such as religious leaders, community elders as well as respected fathers and mothers as Change Agents. The partner organisations will develop a pilot training programme and a curriculum for the change agents at the community level. One outcome of this pilot project will be a Europe-wide training manual for Member States, NGOs and other stakeholders active in the field of FGM prevention. The training programme will be monitored and evaluated by an external evaluator.
As the Change Agents play a vital role in the project, they must be fully informed about the project’s objectives and the different steps they will be asked to participate in, such as the training sessions, regular meetings and the behaviour change activities, prior to agreeing to take part in this project.
The Change Agents work with the Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach on barriers to ending FGM, which has already been carried out in the participating communities by the project partners. They should reflect a wide range of influential groups within each community as peer groups reach each other most effectively. In addition, an intergenerational dialogue and dialogue between men and women is an important precondition for behavioural change as FGM is highly tabooed and deeply rooted in social structures. Thy will be empowered to develop concrete strategies and to carry out activities for behavioural change in their communities.
For a sustainable result in promoting behaviour change in practising communities it is necessary to continue providing advice and support to the Change Agents after the training sessions. The meetings organised by FORWARD, FSAN, RISK and Plan together with TERRE DES FEMMES will have the function to support the Change Agents, thereby encouraging the exchange of experiences and mutual support with the implementation of at least three behaviour change activities per Change Agent.