INTACT Network Online Discussion Forum
Topic: “Public declarations: How effective are they in mobilizing communities against FGM/C?”
The key points and lessons learned from this discussion are:
- Public declarations are a useful tool to accelerate abandonment of FGM. They create a sense of collectiveness and togetherness which empowers individuals to publicly declare that they have abandoned FGM and encourages others to follow.
- The timing of making public declarations is crucial. When PDs are made after enough people (men, women, girls, community leaders) have decided to abandon FGM, the community abandonment would be stable. Public declarations by community leaders or excisors alone are often not taken seriously by the community.
- Public declarations are more likely to be respected if they come as a result of a consensus building process that includes awareness raising, dialog, human rights education, economic and community empowerment. To minimize recidivism, PDs should be accompanied by other strategies like community development, media involvement and political support to create an enabling environment.
- Public declarations are not an end but a beginning of more open discussion about FGM and a milestone that signifies readiness for change.