Female Genital Cutting

In 2009, SERC launched the award-winning “Our Selves, Our Daughters” project, an initiative that provides space and resources for newcomer women affected by female genital cutting (FGC) working for change within their communities. Experiential community leaders are at the forefront of this project, providing health education and social supports to women and other community members in the vision of ending 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.

Locally FGC-affected community members have asked SERC for assistance in addressing FGC in their communities. The project model uses community engagement, community-based research and educational programming to address this sensitive subject within communities. We work in a non-judgmental manner and rely heavily on community support and guidance to ensure the project is on track and effective.

SERC chooses to use the term Female Genital Cutting rather than Female Genital Mutilation because the term is less stigmatized and more community-friendly.

FGC is an ancient women-held practice. 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 considered 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.

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

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
Download the Activities and Evaluation Report

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.
Download Tools for Change

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.
Download this report.

Our Selves, Our Daughters: Community-Based Education and Engagement Addressing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) with Refugee and Immigrant African Women in Winnipeg – 2012-13. Final Activity and Evaluation Report, March 2013
This report describes project activities and the evaluation findings for the “Our Selves, Our Daughters” project in 2012-13, including a description of our expansion into two new communities as well as ongoing education with women and service provider training.
Download the 2012-2013 final report