Somaliland, organized three regional coordination meetings in Awdal, Sahil and Togdheer regions in May 2015. The main objective of that meetings are to create platform of information sharing by the organizations working on FGM/C, government institutions and other Anti-FGM/C activists to share experience, achievements, challenges and come up a common solution per region.
Such these meetings it’s an opportunity for participants to learn and recognize the services of each organization to build a relation between them by creating strong referral mechanisms and cooperation. Also to unite all Anti-FGM/C comping messages to minimize the confusion of the community.
In Awdal meeting majority of the participants were highlighted that there is no sufficient awareness rising on FGM/C at regional and national level, Religious leaders/Sheikhs are another challenge for the distribution of FGM/C messages since they are divided the practice of FGM into Sunna and Infibulation circumcision. While majority opposed the zero tolerance position.
In Sahil region the participants underlined the barriers including absence of law banning any form of FGM/C, miss understanding on Sunna type circumcision and a limit commitment of government officials and also absence of male involvement of the campaign.
In Togdher region the civil society organizations were very organized and seems to have a common agenda of ending FGM/C in the region, since the coordinators of ministry of labor and social and ministry of health were activate participants in the meetings and seem to have good collaboration for the civil society organizations working in the region.
The following are the common challenges identified to end FGM/C:
- Cultural barriers
- No law banning any form of FGM/C
- Limited awareness in rural areas
- Miss understanding on Sunna type circumcision
- FGM/C is source of income for traditional circumcisers
- Large number of the community believes zero tolerance position is foreign driven agenda.
- Little knowledge about FGM/C
- Limited government commitment
- Absence of male involvement;
- since they understand this issue as a women affairs.
The coming three months NAFIS will conduct such these meetings in SOOL, SANAAG and Marodijeh regions.