Local funding is the key to ending FGM but cuts could undermine this, a new report says.
Published by the Tackling FGM Initiative (TFGMI), the report welcomes the successes of community-led approaches to tackling Female Genital Mutilation but warns a lack of local investment could undermine this.
The report is an evaluation of a six year programme working in almost 20 local authorities across the UK to chart and develop community-led interventions to fight FGM.
TFGMI found community-based organisations helped transform attitudes in young people by identifying local champions and creating ‘safe places’ for discussions.
These local organisations have also, TFGMI found, successfully trained more than 6,000 professionals with statutory responsibilities to safeguard girls and support women.
Local groups have also played a role in raising awareness that FGM is not a religiously required practice, is illegal and has severe health implications.
‘There is good evidence that the community based approach has worked with a range of audiences within communities affected by FGM and has started to create a critical mass of people who are opposed to the practice,’ the TFGMI report said.
It adds, however, that a shortage in funding remains a serious problem.
‘The major barrier to the future of the ending FGM campaign is still funding. Even in areas where local authorities, public health colleagues, police and others highly valued TFGMI-partners, when asked about future funding intentions it was not evident that funding needs had even been considered.’
The report concludes the lack of funding is the result of cuts in local budgets and a ‘lack of clarity’ over who is responsible for FGM work.