Female Genital Cutting

Increasing numbers of newcomers are coming to Manitoba from countries that practice female genital cutting (FGC). We prefer this term over FGM (female genital mutilation) because it causes less stigma and is more community-friendly.

FGC is an ancient women-held tradition. In many places in the world it is still a cultural norm. Unlike many traditional practices, FGC is considered an integral part of a woman's identity. Often it is the only path a girl can follow to enter womanhood, to become marriageable and have a place in society. Although the harms of FGC are well-documented, in practicing communities FGC is seen by many as beneficial, not harmful. With many desirable cultural and social outcomes linked to the practice, change is slow.

Around the world, legal reforms and mass educational campaigns are resulting in declining rates of FGC. Change is also occurring in Canada. Locally, a number of community members have asked SERC for assistance in addressing FGC in their communities.

In 2009, SERC launched the award-winning "Our Selves, Our Daughters" project, our main vehicle for addressing FGC.  The goal of the project is to provide space and resouces for newcomer women affected by FGC to work within their communities, aiding other women in understanding the health impacts while supporting an vision of ending of the practice. The project also provides training for health and social service providers to improve their ability to provide culturally competent care for FGC affected women.

The project model uses community engagement, community-based research (CBR) and educational programming to address this sensitive subject within communities. We work in a non-judgemental manner and rely heavily on community support and guidance to ensure the project is on track and effective.

Click here for information on SERC's approach Working with Women and Girls Who Have Experienced FGC - A Culturally Sensitive Approach

The Canadian Council of Muslim Women has developed an informative fact sheet on FGC/M.

Activities and Evaluation Reports

Our Selves, Our Daughters: Community-Based Education and Engagement Addressing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) with Refugee and Immigrant African Women in Winnipeg - 2013-2014: Activities and Evaluation Report

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Our Selves, Our Daughters: Tools for Change - Resources for African Newcomer Communities to Help Prevent Female Genital Cutting - April 2014

This report describes the development of a resource on FGC with two local communities. We also present the outcomes of the "launches" of these booklets in the communities.

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Our Selves, Our Daughters: Community Mobilization to Support Community-Led Change for and with Newcomer Women, December 2013

This report provides a description of activities and evaluation findings from a series of events involving adults and youth from a specific newcomer community on mobilization around changes to the practice of FGC.

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Our Selves, Our Daughters: Community-Based Education and Engagement Addressing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) with Refugee and Immigrant African Women in Winnipeg – 2011-12. Final Activity and Evaluation Report, April 2012

This report describes project activities and the evaluation findings for the “Our Selves, Our Daughters” project in 2011-12, including a description of our expansion into two new communities as well as ongoing education with women and service provider training.

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Our Selves, Our Daughters: Community-Based Education and Engagement Addressing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) with Refugee and Immigrant African Women in Winnipeg, 2010-2011. Final Activity and Evaluation Report, April 2011

This report accounts for activities of Phase two of our project on FGC. It continues to build on our knowledge in delivering education with women, and service providers, and in conducting community-based research with the “whole community.”

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Our Selves, Our Daughters: Community-Based Education Addressing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) with Refugee and Immigrant Women in Winnipeg, Final Activity and Evaluation Report, July 2010

Here we report on the first phase of the project concerning female genital cutting with a focus on the evaluation of our education sessions with women, and with service providers.

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Research Reports

Our Selves Our Daughters: Community Engagement and Consultations Report, December 2009

This report describes the process and outcomes of the initial research phase of our work on female genital cutting with a local community. It provides an understanding on the topic from women’s and community leaders’ perspectives and recommendations on best ways to deliver education, and policy implications.

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Our Selves Our Daughters: Women, Men and Youth’s Perspectives of Female Genital Cutting and Change, August 2011 

This report focuses on a “Whole Community” community-based research process to determine culturally relevant approaches and messages in order to promote community-level change that will enhance supports to women and address prevention of FGC.

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Other Reports

Symposium on Female Genital Cutting (FGC): Focus on Canadian Approaches to Addressing FGC Report, September 2011

Here we report on the outcome of a two-day international Symposium intended to promote knowledge exchange for improving health policies, programming and services for women who have undergone female genital cutting on a continuum from prevention to care.

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Talking Together About Change - Our Selves, Our Daughters Community Friendly Report

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Talking Together About Change - Our Selves, Our Daughters Community Friendly Report (Tigrinya)

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Talking Together About Change - Our Selves, Our Daughters Community Friendly Report - Consulting with a Second Community

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Talking Together About Change - Our Selves, Our Daughters Community Friendly Report - Consulting with a Third Community

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