Evaluation of Centre Djoliba’s Activities Related to the Fight Against FGM/C in Mali
Council researchers evaluated a human- and child-rights–based approach undertaken by the Centre Djoliba in Mali to encourage the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting.
In Mali, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) remains legal, and 85 percent of women aged 14–49 have undergone the procedure. The Centre Djoliba, an organization begun in 1964 that provides capacity building to development partners, has collaborated with Save the Children/Sweden on interventions encouraging the abandonment of FGM/C since the 1980s.
In 2008, the Population Council conducted a qualitative evaluation of a human- and child-rights–based approach that Centre Djoliba launched beginning in 2004. This approach entailed educating community members on health and human rights and forming “support clubs” for schoolchildren.
Council researchers spoke with 200 respondents in 12 villages within four southwestern districts. Responses to the survey indicated that communities have begun questioning FGM/C and that discrimination against uncut girls and women is decreasing. Religious leaders, former excisors, and teachers have played important roles in advocating for the abandonment of the practice. Capacity-building activities for women, including microcredit schemes, helped women improve their daily lives and assume leadership roles within their communities. Overall, respondents in the participating communities said that they were trying to integrate their new knowledge about human and child rights into their daily lives—by enrolling children in schools or by seeking to provide better-quality food for their families. Also, some governments in the participating regions have begun integrating FGM/C-related issues within their plans for social, economic, and cultural development.
The study found the rights-based approach promising for achieving sustainable change, but it identified constraints, including lack of clarity on roles for the Centre Djoliba and the Ministry of Health. Within communities, poverty and infrastructure limitations remained the principal obstacles to sustaining the gains achieved. Researchers recommended developing training tools, manuals, and teaching tools on implementing this approach; incorporating child rights into the materials; and making the tools available in local languages. In addition, they recommended continuing to advocate for national legislation against FGM/C. Future activities need to reinforce the dialogue with religious leaders, who are key gatekeepers for social and cultural change.
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Location: Mali (four southwestern districts)
Female genital mutilation/cutting
Duration: 1/2008 - 8/2008
Ame David (Save the Children/Sweden)
Save the Children/Sweden