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AUW’s Role in Combating Female Genital Mutilation
An Overview of Training, Research and
Outreach Programmes, Educational and IEC Material, Networking and
Ahfad University for Women has been working for more than 35 years
towards the advancement of Sudanese women. This is manifested in
its programme towards the eradication and concurrent abolition of
the harmful Traditional Practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
FGM is a regional and national problem practiced in at least 26
of 43 African countries. FGM is a social and cultural practice which
is known to be detrimental to women’s physical and mental health
and well-being. FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or
total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to
the female genital organs for cultural or non-therapeutic reasons.
Ahfad University For Women is combating FGM through a number of
activities , including Capacity Building and Training Programmes.
The purpose of AUW’s training programmes are to raise the capacity
of nationals in combating FGM and raising awareness of people towards
its detrimental health effects and that it has no religious foundation
contrary to belief.
Examples of training conducted include:
A series of training workshop, on the eradication of FGM for Muslim
Religious leaders and Sufis groups. The training sessions aimed
to enact an Islamic Fatwa to support the abolition of FGM in Sudan
and secure Suffist leaders commitment to advocating for eradicating
this practice. This was coordinated by the Institute for Women Gender
and Development Studies, AUW.
- AUW in collaboration with UNFPA conducted a baseline survey
in Umbadda area in 1994 on FGM.
- Conducted content analysis of national mass media programmes
- Collected data for an annotated report in collaboration with
UNICEF reviewing all national material found in Sudan.
- Conducted a research on the change of attitudinal behaviour
towards FGM amongst different groups: universities, students and
men in Ombadda area.
- Part of the university requirement of the academic degrees awarded
by AUW is conducting a research project in the final year of study.
A multi-disciplinary approach to the study of FGM has led to a
number of researches being conducted at the B.Sc. (mainly) and
– The psychological effect of FGM on Men and women resulting
from the practice. Conducted in 1996.
– The perception and attitudes of journalists in Sudan towards
FGM. Conducted in 2000. The perception and attitudes of female
health providers towards FGM. Conducted in 2001.
– The perception and attitudes of female health providers towards
FGM. Conducted in 2001.
AUW conducts annual field trips to rural areas as part of its Rural
Extension programme. The aim of this programme is two-fold:
– Awareness raising and advocacy is conducted by students on the
theme of FGM (among others).
– Students develop outreach activities, communication skills in
addition to exposure to the reality of the lives of the rural community.
AUW has established a group of Youth Animators to advocate against
the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. This group has been working
since 1996. Methods used by the group include:
Focus group discussions
Public seminars targeting internally displaced persons.
Educational Material and IEC Material
- AUW produced a variety of material advocating and educating
against the practice. These include:
-Training packages to provide technical support for NGOs, CBOs
and Media to assess attitud es towards FGM.
-Training packages produced advocating for eradication of FGM
for health cadres religious leaders, youth, teachers and CBOs.
– Reader on FGM, practice, hazards. Complications and strategy
– Articles written on FGM published by AUW in a women exclusive
journal: The Ahfad Journal.
– Papers written by members of staff presented at international
conferences. For example: The differences between the concepts
of sex and gender and their social impact on the practice of FGM.
– Music cassettes on FGM.
– A video tape on the practice and its psychological impact on
Networking and linkages
AUW has through its years of work established several strong linkages
with different organizations and institutions at different levels,
locally, regional and international working for the eradication
of FGM. Some of these include:
1. Babiker Badri Scientific Association for Women Studies.
2. Sudanese National Center for Eradicating, Harmful Traditional
3. FGM National Network
4. FGM Ministerial Committee for the drafting of Legislations against
-Amanitare partnership, an initiative of RAINBO Organization