Surrounded by activists, civil society organisations, government officials to name a few, the End FGM/C Network Africa was officially launched on the 10th October 2023. The 2nd International Conference to End FGM set the perfect atmosphere for this momentous occasion. We’re extremely proud to have been asked to support the establishment of the network and believe this launch has sparked a renewed commitment to ending FGM/C in Africa. By coming together through the network, we believe that this goal can be realised.
Over 500 participants attended the conference in Tanzania, all wanting to achieve the same thing; an end towards FGM/C. This was the perfect backdrop for the launch. Two spaces were provided for the network, one breakout session and a plenary session on the mainstage. On the 10th October, in the breakout session, the network was officially launched. Surrounded by passionate and insightful panellists, were two members of the network themselves. They had been there from the very beginning of this journey.
Mohammed Opondoh from the Keyna Council of Imams and Ulamaa, a co-host of the network, discussed how they hoped to achieve their goals, “the aim […] is to coordinate the movement so that we can leverage resources for civil society organisations within the region and unite in advocacy using one voice.”
Sariba Badjie from The Girls’ Agenda, a member of the network, spoke about the importance of creating a space where everyone who is committed to this mission is welcome, “we want to create a safe space for those who are committed to ending FGM/C in Africa and to achieve that goal together.”
To round off the launch, a video celebrating the journey of the network was shown; starting with a series of capacity building sessions facilitated by Orchid Project and funded by ManionDaniels, gathering together grassroots organisations from across the continent all with the mission to end FGM/C across Africa. Dialogue in these sessions gave rise to the idea of this network and now at the conference the concept had become a reality.
At the end of the event there was a symbolic signing of a banner for the End FGM/C Africa Network, signifying a show of solidarity with the network and its mission. The support was overwhelming and truly reflects the passion and desire of the grassroots organisations to drive forward this process.
Asenath, CEO of Orchid Project opened the breakout session as well as the slot in the plenary the next day which further reflected on the network, “we witnessed [a] great show of solidarity with participants from across Africa appending their signatures […] in support of the network.”
We’re grateful to have been given the opportunity to support the network and its launch and feel overwhelmed by the support that was shown across the two events. The team who had worked so hard to make this network a reality, were overwhelmed by the support and success of the event and look forward to building on the momentum of the event. Together, we will end FGM/C in Africa.