European & International News

A new interactive e-learning tool to raise awareness on female genital mutilation (FGM)

[Brussels, 27 June 2013]
fgm learning too

An estimated 500,000 women and girls living in the European Union (EU) are affected by FGM, with a further 180,000 at-risk each year.

In the view of the rising EU preoccupation with this striking problem, the European Commission conducted in June this year a consultation on female genital mutilation (FGM) aiming at the development of necessary measures at EU level to fight the practice (read EWL contribution). In their contributions to the consultation, the EWL, EIGE and Amnesty International agree that rising awareness on FGM is the core element of the fight with the phenomenon. The EWL is therefore very happy to see that United to END FGM (UEFGM) recently launched a free-of-charge e-learning tool that provides essential information and practical advice about FGM to health professionals and asylum officers. UEFGM is funded by the END FGM European Campaign, a Europe-wide campaign led by Amnesty International Ireland.

What is feminale genital mutilation (FGM)?

According to the EU Commission, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a form of violence against women and girls, involving procedures that include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. It is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15. It is a human rights’ violation and a violation of the rights of the child and it has severe short-term and long-term physical and psychological consequences. Female genital mutilation is practiced for various reasons related to religious beliefs, cultural identities, gender roles and social perceptions of sexuality, marriage or health, and is widespread in some specific African, Middle-East and Asian countries. This is why the problem needs a very sensitive approach from all professionals in the direct contact with women affected by the practice or on the risk of FGM, namely health service professionals and asylum workers.

What is the UEFGM e-learning course on FGM?

UEFGM e-learning course on FGM is a comprehensive course aiming at:

  • To improve the support and treatment offered to women and girls in Europe living with or at risk of genital mutilation, by encouraging a more specialised gender- and culture-sensitive approach in the healthcare services
  • To strengthen the skills needed to maintain a high standard of decision-making in protecting FGM-affected and/or at-risk women and gi rls seeking asylum.
  • To bring about the greater harmonisation of the European Asylum System, by highlighting relevant European and international treaties and legislation protecting FGM-affected and/or at-risk women and girls.

The course addresses mainly health professionals and asylum service workers, including midwives, gynaecologists, paediatricians, nurses, health visitors, medical and nursing students, asylum case and reviewing authority officers, asylum support centre staff, social workers and related NGOs. In order to provide the most accurate knowledge it is divided into three streams of study: asylum stream, health stream and combined one. Designed as virtual seminars, each module provides the practical information and specialised training required to support and guide those affected by FGM through healthcare and asylum procedures, along with extensive web-links to primary data and sources.

What are the outcomes?

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  • Describe the types and effects of FGM
  • Communicate about FGM in a gender- and culture-sensitive way
  • Frame FGM as an abuse of human rights
  • Identify relevant European and international asylum regulations and treaty provisions
  • Adopt a transcultural approach to the healthcare needs of affected women and girls

To learn more about the UEFGM e-learning course on FGM please read the website.

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