Network Against FGM in Somaliland (NAFIS)


Advocacy is integral to NAFIS‘s efforts in fighting FGM/C. It is what and how we do to influence FGM/C policy makers and the general public to support the anti-FGM course pursuit by NAFIS in Somaliland. NAFIS advocate at every level for increased attention in ending FGM/C. We believe that FGM/C can only end with the help of actors, activists and decision makers at every level – from grassroots, to regional, national and international actors. Advocacy at NAFIS is evidence-driven process of strengthening the abilities of individuals, organizations, and systems to perform core functions sustainably, and to continue to improve and develop over time through attitude change and enabling policy enactment, adoption, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.

Minister of Religious and social affairs... attended International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM in Hargeisa

At NAFIS, we believe that harmful practices such as FGM cannot be addressed in isolation and that they need to be treated through a holistic and comprehensive approach to all forms of violence, with a focus on prevention. NAFIS advocacy Interventions addresses those social norms that push many women to cut their daughters and granddaughters, because they think that it will protect them. Awareness Prevention interventions should focus on mobilizing communities, traditional and faith leaders, women and men, as agents of change. We know that FGM cannot be justified on the grounds of religion or culture, that it is a clear violation of human rights, has a devastating and lasting physical, health and psychological impact on women and girls, and is a barrier to progress and development.

Eliminating FGM is an essential step to realizing other SDGs in Somaliland, including targets on health and well-being, quality education, safe motherhood and economic growth, all of which are underpinned by work that empowers women and girls and achieves gender equality.This is why NAFIS is proud to be collaborating with the Internal Organizations on Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, to support Somaliland communities to address the root causes of this harmful practice.

  • Raise awareness and educate on FGM and its consequences.
  • Map best practices and collect key data across communities, and regions.
  • Workshops to offer a safe and non-confrontational space for women to talk about the often complex and conflicting feelings surrounding FGM. 
  • Help young women who are at risk of FGM or gender-based violence to access the appropriate services to protect them. Give support and counseling for FGM survivors on issues relating to FGM such as child birth, reversal procedures and reproductive health.
  • Provide medical Support Centre which provides free medication, gynecological checks and counseling for women affected by FGM.
  • FGM media campaign aimed to educate the public on FGM and other issues relating to FGM reproductive health, Human rights child marriage and gender-based violence.
  • Raise awareness of FGM by providing education workshops, organizing fundraising events and supporting victims.
  • Raise awareness on Female Genital Mutilation and to encourage people to take action in collaboration of visual artists, musicians, poets, singers and writers.

NAFIS network has made significant advocacy achievements since 2012:
* Development of the National Anti-FGM policy -NAFIS with Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) in 2012 drafted the National Anti-FGM/C policy by. In 2016, NAFIS assisted MOLSA to review and summarize the policy. NAFSI translated the drafted Anti-FGM/C policy into Somali..  
* Nationwide Research on FGM/C – NAFIS in 2014 carried out assessment on the prevalence, perception and attitudes on Female Genital Mutilation in all six region of Somaliland. In 2016, NAFIS also carried out an assessment of young boys and girls in the school at the age of 13 years to gauge their knowledge, attitudes and perception on FGM/C.
* Media Engagement-NAFIS network has trained 35 local media house on its campaign; ‘Media Fight Campaign against FGM/C.’ The training empowered the media to voluntarily advocate the message to the people. NAFIS also organizes talk shows and debates for the stakeholders to discuss the issues surrounding FGM/C in Somaliland. In addition, NAFIS produces IEC materials on regular basis and posts weekly advocacy messages on the social media to reach the youth.
NAFIS organize dialogues and debates for the prominent Religious Leaders led by the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA). 10 articles criminalizing the Pharaoinic type of FGM/C in Somaliland were produced. Ministry of Religious Affairs has issued fatwa (an Islamic law ruling) banning the practice of female genital mutilation
NAFIS Developed Anti-FGM/C Advocacy Strategy for the adoption of Anti-FGM/C policy and enactment of the Anti-FGM/C law.

  • In 2016, a total of 990 FGM survivors took part of the discussion on effects and abandonment of FGM/C.
  • In 2017, a total of 1,827 FGM survivors had received information on the harmful effects and consequences of FGM/C from our support centers.*
  • Lack of commitment by the policy makers on FGM/C eradication. More so to finalize and approve the National Anti-FGM/C policy
  • Religious leaders have varying positions on eradicating FGM/C. This clearly is exhibited in some agreement to have Pharaonic abandoned but have Sunna type continued.
  • Some of the local Anti-FGM/C organizations are promoting Suna type of FGM. This makes it difficult for the zero-tolerance message to sink in the people’s minds. 
    In communities where there is a strong perception that the practice of FGM/C is required by Islam
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