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Helping victims of female genital mutilation

Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a widespread practice not only in Africa, but also in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The Stop FGM Middle East Campaign was founded by WADI to promote the need of fighting FGM beyond Africa.

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Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a widespread practice not only in Africa, but also in many Asian countries, among them Iraq, Iran, Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Thailand. In many of these countries the existence of this brutal child abuse remains a taboo, internationally it is hardly recognized.

The Stop FGM Middle East Campaign was founded in 2013 by the Iraqi-German NGO WADI and the Dutch NGO HIVOS to promote the need of fighting FGM in Asia and to support local activists breaking the silence in their countries.

WADI has been active in Northern Iraq since 1992 where it has launched a massive campaign against FGM which was joined by the Kurdish Regional government in 2011 and is supported since summer 2014 by UNICEF. Less then ten years of campaigning have yielded great success, more than 70% of Iraqi Kurdish citizens oppose FGM today and say they will not continue the practice. This shows: It is possible to eradicate FGM in one generation.

Where the government supports a campaign big donors can be found to support it. Yet, most of our partners aren't that lucky. In their countries the government ignores the practice or is at best waiting to see. Yet, if a national government says: "There is no problem here", the UN or other governments can't act. Therefore, our partners are relying on private donations.

Iran project:
The psychologists Osman Mahmoudi and his wife Elham Hosseini have conducted a study in the Iranian province of Kermansheh about marital relationships and FGM. They found that FGM does not only make the wife unhappy, but also the husband. Because sexuality and FGM are tabooed husbands often don’t even know the cause for sexual frustration, the wife has no one to turn to. Both partners suffer from low self esteem and depression. As Mahmoudi says: "Today many men want to live a real partnership, they suffer if they see their wife is unhappy during sex."

Victims of FGM can have a fullfilled sex life. But the precondition is talking about sex in their partnership. Mahmoudi and Hoseini want to enable this process by offering couple and group therapy for victims of FGM in their Family Counseling Center in Javanrood. Thereby, they are not only helping each individual couple but also starting a debate in society.

Please support this unique project in Iran and help a couple which is victim to FGM regain their happiness.

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