2023 KIGALI DECLARATION

Sign the declaration

‘’From Rhetoric to Reality: Closing the Funding Gap and Uniting for Action to End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting’’

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As hundreds of activists, grassroots organisations, international NGOs and academics who gathered at the Women Deliver 2023 Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, we are exercising our collective power to highlight the urgent resourcing need for the End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting sector and launch the Kigali Declaration and the Call to Close the Funding Gap. 

Over 200 million girls and women alive today from 31 countries have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and over 4 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM/C annually. And this number is on the rise. However, even these alarming figures fail to represent the full picture, as they do not take into account countries (particularly in Asia and the Middle East) which do not have national prevalence data on FGM/C. Another report highlights that FGM/C has been reported to occur in 92 countries around the world.

Despite positive changes in the field of eliminating FGM/C in the last few decades, rapid population growth, insecurity and humanitarian crises in some countries with high prevalence rates, as well as emerging trends, such as medicalization of FGM/C threaten to roll back progress. This is exacerbated by the critical lack of funds to the end FGM/C sector.


¹ According to a joint report by UNICEF and UNFPA, an estimated 2 million additional girls are at risk of being cut over the next decade, bringing the total number of girls at risk to 70 million by 2030. 


The Funding Gap

Adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals target 5.3.2 to end female genital mutilation/cutting by 2030 was an ambitious commitment.  But rhetoric was simply not matched with financial commitments. According to an UNFPA Report, by investing $2.4 billion by 2030 we could end FGM/C altogether in 31 priority countries; and only $95 is required to avert one case of FGM/C. Yet only $275 million in development assistance is available leaving a funding gap of >$2.1 billion. However, the $2.1 billion needed does not include other countries where FGM/C is known to take place and which have not traditionally been prioritized, including in Asia and the Middle East.

Dear World Leaders and Donor Community,

As 2030 is fast approaching, the genuine need to bridge the significant funding gap and implement much-needed interventions to end FGM/C must be embraced with a sense of extreme urgency. Funding must be increased now, and it is essential for investment to come from a variety of sources – from multilateral donors, philanthropy, and the private sector, in addition to domestic resources committed by national Governments.  

Signatories of this letter  are calling on donors, multilateral entities and national governments to:

1. Significantly increase funding towards the end FGM/C sector

Every year, 4 million girls are at risk of being cut. That means 11,000 girls per day. More funders need to resource the end FGM/C sector to protect women and girls’ right to health, to bodily integrity, to freedom from violence and to enjoy their sexuality. How?

• Invest in efforts geared towards ending FGM/C and remodel their traditional funding practices to more effectively support grassroots organisations.

• Prioritize funding for ending FGM/C in national budgets through direct budget allocations and integration of FGM/C into other budgets, such as healthcare, education, etc.

• Expand the funding direction beyond the 31 priority countries to include countries which have not traditionally been prioritised, including in Asia and the Middle East.

• Put in place an accountability system to track the financial commitments with a focus on how much, to who, and in which geographies resources have been allocated.

• Explore new collaboration between traditional donors, private sector, governments and NGOs, particularly around innovative financing mechanisms

2. Shift the funding to grassroots organisations

It has been demonstrated that one of the most effective ways to end FGM/C is to engage the community at a grassroots level.  Despite this, the funding to grassroot organisations remains patchy, short-term and not sustainable. The complexity of accessing funds through a myriad of bureaucratic hurdles and requirements and often for funds that are too short-term in nature is a major challenge  for community organisations. Funding models need to be rooted in the power of purposeful grant-making and best respond to grassroots’ needs ensuring:

      Sustainable, multi-year funding
      Funding to support core/administrative costs
      Flexible funding with simplified requirements for application and reporting
      Capacity building/strengthening and leadership development support to grassroots organisation to access and manage funds
      Funding grounded in feminist principles that disrupt the power imbalance and shift the power to women and girls

3. Convene a Global Commitment Summit

The adoption of SDG 5, target  5.3.2 to end female genital mutilation by 2030 placed end FGM/C firmly on the global agenda. However the ambition to end FGM/C by 2030 was not matched with financial commitments.  With less than 7 years left until the  2030 deadline, a critical action is needed to resource the end FGM/C sector. Stakeholders gathered at the Women Deliver End FGM/C Pre-Conference unanimously agree that a Global Summit for increased commitments and investment to achieve the elimination of FGM/C is urgently needed. We need:

      Champion countries that will drive the efforts to finance FGM/C sector globally, calling for increased investment, efficiency and equity in funding.
      To act with urgency and convene a Global Commitment Summit during a United Nations General Assembly session or other key UN gathering by 2025 to secure financial commitments and actions needed.
      The Summit to catalyse the resourcing of end FGM/C work, with needs and priorities of grassroot organisations firmly at its heart.

Now’s the time to #Closethefundinggap

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is a global practice that requires a global response. We are in a race against time. Without immediate action and significant increase in funding, there will be millions more girls affected by 2030 and beyond. Failure is not an option anymore. 

ANNEX – WHERE FUNDING IS NEEDED THE MOST

This annex compiles the recommendations that emerged from the WD2023 End FGM/C Pre-Conference thematic collaborative working groups sessions. Therefore, it reflects the views of civil society actors and cross-sectoral stakeholders who work everyday to eliminate FGM/C across the world. The list of stakeholders represented is available at the end

1. Thematic Group 1. Change from Within – Achieving FGM/C elimination through grassroots movements

• Work with grassroots organizations, youth-led initiatives and survivors to make funding decisions based on their needs and organizational capabilities. Invest in initiatives to empower survivors by providing them with the needed training, support and opportunities; and to strengthen capacities of grassroots organizations so they can receive the funding.

• Provide direct, long-term, accessible and sustainable funding to grassroots organizations, survivors and youth-led initiatives, particularly solutions that contribute to sustainable change. Learn more about the work done by grassroots organizations and survivor-led groups and trust their ability to deliver programmes by funding them directly without intermediaries. 

• Adjust application processes for funding, as complicated processes end up shutting grassroot organisations out of funding streams. Introduce flexible eligibility criteria and simplified reporting for grassroots organizations and movements working to end FGM/C, which decrease the bureaucratic chains and redtape surrounding funding. Shift thecolonial mindset that still tends to dominate the flow of funding in the anti-FGM/C sector.

2. Thematic group 2. Bridging the Gap – Law and Policy on FGM/C

• Fund initiatives that advocate for comprehensive and holistic laws and policies on FGM/C; as well as those focused on improving implementation, including through promoting safe and effective methods for individuals to report violations of existing legislation. 

• Recognize that FGM/C is a global problem that requires local solutions, and that the survivor-led, grassroots organizations need to be consulted when it comes to the creation of policy and law, as they have the highest rate of success in ending FGM/C in their communities.

• Promote implementation of laws and policies on FGM/C, including ensuring that there is adequate budget for their implementation at local, regional, and national levels Implement effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess implementation of laws and policies and to track spending of budget lines allocated towards ending FGM/C. This also requires funding of research that measures impact and outcomes of existing laws and policies against FGM/C.

3. Thematic Group 3. Harnessing the Power of Youth and the Role of Formal and informal education in ending FGM/C

• Invest in leadership trainings, peer to peer learning forums  and educational and vocational initiatives that address gender inequity and empower girls and women to become financially independent. Support initiatives providing young people with opportunities to receive  mentorship from established NGOs and other stakeholders. 

• Provide funding for programs that will allow for safe and transformative conversations about FGM/C with impacted communities, survivors and young people. Prioritize mental health approaches and programs that will support survivors and create safe spaces to explore the traumatic impact of FGM/C across generations.

• Support programmes that promote intergenerational dialogue and collaboration between established NGOs and youth-led initiatives. Effective intergenerational cooperation can be increased by identifying the hallmarks and shortcomings of each generation, as well as promoting flexibility and adaptability within established NGOs to recognize the need to change methodologies to meet changing times. Such efforts must also encourage youth to innovate and contribute to the anti-FGM/C dialogue and global effort.

4. Thematic Group 4. Evidence, Research, Data-collection – orient action based on evidence

• Allocate resources for data collection and research that will provide realistic estimates of the number of women and girls affected by FGM/C worldwide. This specifically requires investment  in: (i) collecting national prevalence data in countries and regions where FGM/C is known to occur but there is no data available (like Middle East and Asia) and (ii) collecting and utilising subnational/localised data in countries where such data is limited, which hinders the ability to effectively target programs in the most affected areas and populations. 

• Support initiatives to build the evidence base of what works to end FGM/C, including by elevating local level data from grassroots and successess of localised programmes and by building capacity of grassroots organisations to conduct quality evaluations. Address the issue of access of grassroots actors to data and evidence that is not accessible due to a number of factors, including research being predominantly published in English, kept behind academic firewalls or presented with complex language. 

• Support monitoring and evaluation approaches to effectively measure shift in mentalities and attitudes towards addressing FGM/C as this approach is often used by grassroots organizations, survivors and youth-led initiatives. Promote an environment that enables openness and honesty, and allows programs to change directions based on M&E findings of approaches that have not worked. Short-term funding cycles, donor-driven agendas, and resistance to admit when approaches do not work are hindering progress toward better understanding and effectiveness. 

5. Thematic group 5. Emerging Trends: Addressing Medicalization of FGM/C and Cross-border FGM/C

• Be adaptive and responsive to new data and research on FGM/C to shift funding streams and respond quickly to emerging trends.  

• Fund research to understand the impact of climate change, cross-border FGM/C and other intersecting issues on the perpetuation and practice of FGM/C. Go beyond usual funding mechanisms and siloed funding approaches.

• Support the enforcement of policies and guidelines that explicitly prohibit health professionals from engaging in or supporting FGM/C. Effectively addressing medicalization of FGM/C will also require funding projects aimed at addressing the root causes of FGM/C including gender inequality and addressing it as a form of sexual assault; as well as projects that undertake behavioural change for community mobilization to reduce the demand for FGM/C.

Téléchargez le texte de la Déclaration en français ici.

Download the Declaration in English here.

A Joint Letter – Calling for a Global Summit to End FGM/C

Calling for a Global Summit to end female genital mutilation/cutting

Now’s the time to #Closethefundinggap

Dear World Leaders,

Over 200 million girls and women alive today from 31 countries have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and over 4 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM/C annually. And this number is on the rise. According to a joint report by UNICEF and UNFPA, an estimated 2 million additional girls are at risk of being cut over the next decade, bringing the total number of girls at risk to 70 million by 2030. These horrific figures are simply unacceptable.

Even these alarming figures fail to represent the complete picture, as they do not take into account a number of countries (particularly in Asia and the Middle East) which do not have national prevalence data on FGM/C. Even before COVID-19 slowed down the progress in eliminating FGM/C, the Sustainable Development Goals target 5.3.2 to end female genital mutilation/cutting by 2030 was already an ambitious commitment.  Rhetoric was simply not matched with financial commitments, and there remains an urgent need for the End FGM/C sector to receive increased and sustained funding. 

As 2030 is fast approaching, the genuine need of bridging the significant funding gap and implementing the much-needed interventions to end FGM/C must be embraced with a sense of extreme urgency. Funding must be increased now, and it is essential for investment to come from a variety of sources – from multilateral donors, philanthropy, and the private sector, in addition to domestic resources committed by national Governments.  

Signatories of this letter, members of the Global Platform for Action to end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and allies, are calling on donors to invest in efforts geared towards ending FGM/C and remodel their traditional funding practices to more effectively support grassroots organisations, as well as calling on governments to prioritize funding for ending FGM/C work in their national budgets. As part of these efforts, we are calling on world leaders and funders to act with urgency and convene a Global Summit during a United Nations General Assembly session or other key UN gathering by 2025 to secure genuine commitments and actions needed to put an end to this harmful practice. 

The Summit needs to catalyse the resourcing of end FGM/C work, with needs and priorities of grassroot organisations firmly at its heart. Listening to and funding community-based organisations is our only chance of ending this practice.

The Funding Gap 

According to UNFPA Report only $95 is required to avert one case of FGM/C and to protect a girls’ right to health, to bodily integrity, to freedom from violence and to enjoy her sexuality. A relatively small price to pay which pales in comparison with global spending on increasing militarisation (almost $2 trillion per year) and growth based on exploitation of natural resources. By investing $2.4 billion by 2030 we could end FGM/C altogether in 31 priority countries. There is also a need to expand funding beyond the 31 countries which have national prevalence data on the practice; and provide funding for anti-FGM work in countries which have not traditionally been prioritized, including in Asia and the Middle East. 

Yet only $275 million in development assistance is available leaving a funding gap of >$2.1 billion; and these funds are not available proportionately across all countries where FGM/C is known to take place. Grassroots organisations that are at the forefront of prevention efforts have raised their collective voice to urge governments, foundations, private sector, and other donors to urgently increase funding to the FGM/C sector. 

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is a global practice that requires a global response. Join the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C in this struggle to uphold basic human rights for women and girls and renew your commitment to end FGM/C globally by convening a Global Summit aimed at sincere commitments and increased sustainable funding. 

We are in a race against time. Without immediate action, there will be millions more girls affected by 2030 and beyond. The Global Summit has to secure the commitments and actions needed to close the funding gap. Failure is not an option anymore. 

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

We represent The Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C, a consortium of civil society organizations, champions, survivors, and grassroots representatives united in a singular mission: to support the abandonment and prevention of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).

Funding commitments joint letter.pdf

2022 Progress Report on FGM/C

Read the report here 

This report has been compiled by members of the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C: Amref Health Africa, Coalition on Violence Against Women, End FGM Canada Network, End FGM European Network (End FGM EU), Equality Now, Orchid Project, Sahiyo, The Girl Generation, The US End FGM/C Network, There Is No Limit Foundation and Tostan.

It represents a joint effort across our respective organisations and regional networks to combine our global expertise, knowledge and partnerships to support efforts to end FGM/C by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This report provides regional progress updates across the key thematic areas of the Secretary General report since the last report in 2020.

Partnerships to Accelerate Global Action to End FGM/C by 2030

Partnerships to Accelerate Global Action to End FGM/C by 2030

Parallel event

at the virtual 65th Commission on the Status of Women on March 24, 2021
By Bertine Pries, Manager Advocacy, Amref Netherlands

This event was organised by The Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C. Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a global concern, practiced in at least 92 countries, which requires a global response. That’s why civil society organizations, activists and survivors from all continents started this Global Platform two years ago during a pre-conference at Women Deliver 2019 to build global collective action to end FGM/C by 2030.

The lively discussion on FGM/C with activists, survivors, professionals and youth from four continents was moderated by Dr. Tammary Esho, Director of the Amref Health Africa End FGM/C Centre of Excellence in Nairobi.

Religion and medicalisation
The first speaker, Atashendartini Habsjah (researcher and advocate focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls) addressed the role of religion and medicalisation in FGM/C in Indonesia. With other women’s health activists she has worked together with religious leaders, doctors and midwives who play a key role in the practice of FGM/C, and are essential stakeholders in efforts to end FGM/C. As a result of their work, Atashendartini and her colleagues have received political commitment from Ministries within the government who published guidelines on FGM/C as harmful practice.

Youth leadership
The power of youth in the global work to end FGM/C was made very clear! Aya Chebbi (pan-African feminist) and Alya Harding (Youth Ambassador for the End FGM European Network) had a lively fireside chat with Aissata Camara (Executive Vice President of There Is No Limit Foundation) about bringing young people to the table. “Facilitate inter generational discussions,” said Alya. Aya also mentioned inter-generational co-leadership: “We want to end this in our generation with the support of other generations. Put young people in leadership positions to do their work in communities and bring decision-makers in the space of young people so they can eventually championing our agenda.”

Malaika Somji, (a co-founder of the End FGM Canada Network when she was 16-years-old) stressed the importance of the role of youth in her passionate talk. “We must continue raising our voices. Our voices are the living expression of human rights. We need to mobilize across the world to advance a world of girls rights for a better future.” She emphasised that it’s about the youth carrying on the conversation and keeping the momentum alive.

Approximately every 10 seconds a girl in the world is subjected to FGM/C
Together we took a minute of silence while showing photos of women and girls who live with the consequences of FGM/C. We have to continue to keep survivors at the forefront of our work to end FGM/C.

Long-term psychological and mental health impact of FGM/C
Maryam Sheik (Kenyan survivor of FGM/C) came to Canada to protect her daughter from FGM/C. She shared her personal experience and highlighted in her TED-style talk the psychological and mental health consequences of the practice. Powerfully, she also reminded us that FGM/C is not a practice required for Muslim girls and women.

Survivor-led advocacy
Mental health was also addressed by psychotherapist Dr. Leyla Hussein (Global Advocacy Director and Deputy Team Leader of the African-led Movement to end FGM/C) and Mariya Taher (Co-Founder and US Executive Director of Sahiyo). “Name and frame the practice as violent and as a sexual assault,” said Leyla. As survivors, they provided insights in survivor-
led advocacy, to support survivors physically, emotionally and mentally and to create a safe space for them.

Silent voices
The meeting ended with an impressive poem written and performed by Josephine Kiaga (filmmaker and advocate from Tanzania).

Global Call to Action
Carey Walovich (Operations & Partnerships Manager for the U.S. End FGM/C Network) did the closing remarks on behalf of the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C and invited all participants to sign up the Global Call to Action. Again, join us!

What an inspirational, passionate and engaging discussion full of expertise and insight. This gathering of advocates showed how impactful and dedicated our community is to ending FGM/C around the world.

Continue reading

700 civil society organisations & activists signed the joint letter to Generation Equality Action Coalition Leaders

The Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C has joined forces with Girls Not Brides to call on the leaders of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence (GBV) to commit to ending female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child, early and force marriage (CEFM). Both FGM/C and CEFM are forms of gender-based violence, and are violations of the human rights of women and girls. They are held in place by discriminatory gender stereotypes and norms that define the limits of a girl’s aspirations, and have devastating consequences and impacts across her life.

Sign-on to the joint letter campaign closed at midnight GMT on 25th November 2020, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

An incredible 625 civil society organisations and 75 activists from across 79 countries raised their voices by signing the joint letter.

Please read and share the final letter using the links below, available in:

English

Español

Français

Joint letter: To the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence

The Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C has joined forces with Girls Not Brides to call on the leaders of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence (GBV) to commit to ending the harmful practices of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM).

We are calling on organisations to join us in this campaign by adding your organisation’s name to our joint open letter by Wednesday 25th November. The letter and sign-on form is available here in English, en español, ou en français.

With 10 years remaining to achieve the 2030 Agenda, the Generation Equality Forum provides an opportunity to take stock of progress made on ending GBV and harmful practices and to make a renewed push for accelerated action on  the Beijing Platform for Action and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.3. By standing together to address CEFM and FGM/C we can work towards a a world where women and girls live free from violence and can achieve their full potential.

Let’s ensure Generation Equality is a generation free from harmful practices.

Please share this with your network by retweeting us. The more organisations that sign on to this letter, the louder our voices will be for change.

We hope that you will join us. Together, we can end FGM/C and child marriage.

Sign the letter in English, en español, ou en français.

Image credit: Orchid Project. A village chief in Kenya, whose community is discussing female genital cutting through the work of COVAW.

Global Report on FGM/C 2020


In May, we published a Global Report on FGM/C 2020 and we sent it to the UN Secretary General in view of his progress report on the practice.

Covering all regions of the globe, the report shares information on: laws and policy; prevention strategies; multi-sectoral services, programmes and responses; data and research; community perspectives; and FGM/C the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full report >

Not joined the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C yet? Sign up today by clicking the button top right.