Men Speak Out
With support of the European Union, GAMS coordinated the project ‘Men Speak Out’, in association with FORWARD UK (UK), Himilo Foundation (Netherlands) and the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. This project aims ed at mobilising and involving men in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) and, on a larger scale, to eradicate violence against women. It also aims to promote gender equality in the respect of human rights.
Already many organisations across Europe have developed strategies against FGM. The major part of the work to raise awareness about FGM is done by women, particularly in Europe, while the lack of implication by men is striking. FGM is considered to be women’s business, but in reality it concerns all community members. Men can and have to play an active role in the abolition of these practices: they are crucial in this fight. If men were to contribute, the abandonment of this practice in Europe would be accelerating, as well as in other countries.
The project is divided into 3 major steps:
- Firstly, we conducted a qualitative and quantitative research among the men of the diaspora in Europe. This in order to assess their knowledge about FMG and their own relative position according to this practice.
The objective of the quantitative study was to estimate the proportion of men who are in favour of the continuation of FGM in Europe (Belgium, Netherlands and United Kingdom), compared to their country of origin.
On 8 December 2016, the preliminary results of the ‘Men Speak Out’ research were published.
- Secondly, we organised a training course for peer educators in the three participating countries mentioned above. We also produced specific tools to raise awareness amongst men from the practicing communities.
- Lastly, we organised a campaign to raise awareness among communities, led by the trained peer educators. In particular we designed activities and developed messages for television, radio and other media. This in order to strengthen the European Directives to prevent FGM.