Organizations from around the world convened in a meeting last Thursday in Washington, D.C. to discuss next steps for combating the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting. (FGM/C) The meeting, “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Convening” was held in the offices of the Wallace Global Fund in Washington, D.C. This meeting was a follow up to the meeting held at the Department of Health and Human Services on October 2, 2014. Last year’s meeting was a listening session by government agencies, where a special committee heard suggestions from various organizations in the U.S.
This year’s meeting was hosted by the Wallace Global Fund with organizations from several parts of the world. Organizations attending the meeting included Equality Now, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, the Girl Generation, Safe Hands for Girls, African Sky, End FGM European Network, DFID, African Well Women’s Clinic, Human Dignity Foundation, Art and Activism, the European Union, Norwegian Ministry of Children and several U.S. Government agencies.
Representatives from the U.S. Government agencies addressed the attendees in the conference room, including those organizations which joined the meeting through teleconference from Europe and various parts of the United States. They told them that the United States is committed to ending female genital mutilation/cutting. The representatives explained the great progress that has been made in many aspects toward combating the practice of FGM.
In comparison to the strides that have been made by European countries and the United Kingdom, it is clear that the U.S. is trailing. However with the steps and progress made within a year by the U.S. organizations and the government, there is great hope for the future.
The organizations participating in the meeting were asked to share their highlights of work in 2015 and share the highlights of their plans for 2016. Those organizations agreed that the campaign to end FGM is not a task for one individual or for one organization or group; it is a job for several like-minded organizations, individuals and groups to collaborate their efforts in combatting this dreadful practice in the world.
Undoubtedly more of such meetings are needed and the frequency of these organizations, individuals and groups convening is a must.